What Happens If I Put E85 In My Car

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you put E85 fuel in your non-flex-fuel vehicle? E85 is a blend of gasoline and ethanol, typically containing 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It is a popular fuel choice for flex-fuel vehicles, but using it in a non-flex-fuel vehicle can cause some potential problems.

In this article, we will explore what happens when you use E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle, the symptoms of using E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle, and how you can avoid problems with E85.

As a car owner, you want to make informed decisions about the fuel you use to power your vehicle. While E85 may seem like a cost-effective and eco-friendly choice, it is essential to understand the potential risks of using it in a non-flex-fuel vehicle.

This article will provide you with the information you need to make the right decision when it comes to choosing the right fuel for your car. So, buckle up and get ready to learn about the effects of E85 on your non-flex-fuel vehicle.

Understanding E85 Fuel

If you’re thinking about using E85 fuel in your car, you’ll want to know that it’s a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

E85 fuel is often touted as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline, but it’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages before making the switch.

One major advantage of E85 fuel is that it’s typically cheaper than gasoline. This is because ethanol is cheaper to produce than gasoline, and the federal government offers tax incentives to encourage the use of renewable fuels like ethanol.

Additionally, E85 fuel has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline, which can improve engine performance in certain types of vehicles. However, there are also some disadvantages to using E85 fuel.

For one, it’s less energy-dense than gasoline, which means you’ll need to use more of it to travel the same distance. E85 fuel can also be harder to find, as it’s not available at every gas station.

Finally, while ethanol is a renewable resource, it’s not without environmental impact. The production of ethanol can require large amounts of water and energy, and some studies suggest that it may contribute to deforestation and other environmental issues.

Potential Problems with Using E85 in Non-Flex-Fuel Vehicles

If you put E85 in your non-flex-fuel vehicle, you may encounter some potential problems. The first issue is the corrosion of metal and rubber parts, which can be caused by the high levels of ethanol in E85.

Secondly, engine damage may occur due to the lack of compatibility between E85 and non-flex-fuel engines.

Finally, combustion properties can be affected, leading to reduced performance and fuel efficiency.

It’s important to understand these potential issues before using E85 in your non-flex-fuel vehicle.

Corrosion of Metal and Rubber Parts

Beware, using E85 can cause serious damage to your car’s metal and rubber parts, leading to costly repairs. The high ethanol content in E85 can cause metal corrosion as it attracts water, which in turn causes rusting. This can lead to leaks in fuel lines, damaged fuel injectors, and a corroded fuel tank.

Moreover, the rubber components in your car, such as the fuel pump seals, gaskets, and hoses, can be degraded due to the high alcohol content in E85. The alcohol content in the fuel can cause the rubber to swell, crack, and ultimately fail, leading to fuel leaks and other engine problems.

It’s important to note that using E85 on a regular basis can cause long-term damage to your car’s metal and rubber components. The best way to avoid these problems is to use E85 only in flex-fuel vehicles that are designed to handle the high ethanol content.

If you accidentally put E85 in your non-flex-fuel car, it’s recommended to drain the fuel tank immediately and replace the damaged parts. By doing so, you can avoid costly repairs down the line and ensure the longevity of your car’s engine.

Engine Damage

Using E85 regularly can cause serious damage to your engine, potentially shortening the lifespan of your vehicle. This is because E85 contains a higher percentage of ethanol than regular gasoline, which can lead to corrosion and damage to the engine’s fuel system components like fuel lines, injectors, and fuel pump. Additionally, the ethanol in E85 can cause the engine to run hotter, leading to increased wear and tear on engine components and potential overheating issues.

To minimize the long-term effects of using E85 in your car, preventative maintenance is key. Regularly checking and replacing fuel filters, inspecting fuel lines for signs of corrosion, and using high-quality engine oil can help prevent damage to your engine. It’s also important to monitor your engine’s performance and watch for signs of decreased power or increased fuel consumption, as these can be indicators of engine damage.

While E85 may be a cheaper alternative to gasoline, it’s not worth the cost savings in the long run if it leads to engine damage.

Combustion Properties

The unique combustion properties of E85 can have both positive and negative impacts on your car’s engine performance and emissions.

E85, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline, which means it can handle higher compression ratios and produce more power. This can lead to improved performance and acceleration, especially in high-performance engines. However, E85 also has a lower energy density than gasoline, which means that it can reduce your car’s fuel economy by up to 30%.

In terms of emissions impact, E85 has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. Ethanol is a renewable fuel source that’s produced from corn and other crops, so it has a lower carbon footprint than gasoline.

However, the emissions impact of E85 depends on several factors, including the type of engine and fuel system in your car, as well as the quality and consistency of the E85 you’re using. In some cases, using E85 can actually increase emissions of certain pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx).

As a result, it’s important to consult with your car manufacturer and use high-quality E85 fuel to ensure optimal engine performance and emissions.

Symptoms of Using E85 in a Non-Flex-Fuel Vehicle

If you’ve used E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle, you may experience reduced fuel efficiency, engine misfires, and warning lights. Your engine is calibrated to run on a specific blend of gasoline and ethanol, and using E85 can throw off that balance.

This can lead to problems with combustion, emissions, and engine performance.

Reduced Fuel Efficiency

Your car’s fuel efficiency will take a hit when you fill up with E85. This is because the ethanol content in E85 is higher than regular gasoline, which means that your engine has to burn more fuel to produce the same amount of energy.

This results in a lower fuel efficiency, which means you’ll need to fill up more frequently and spend more money on gas in the long run. In addition to reduced fuel efficiency, using E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle can also lead to reduced performance and long-term effects.

This is because E85 has a lower energy content than regular gasoline, which means that your engine won’t be able to produce as much power. Over time, this can lead to increased wear and tear on your engine, which can result in costly repairs down the line.

Overall, it’s best to stick to regular gasoline unless you have a flex-fuel vehicle that’s specifically designed to handle E85.

Engine Misfires

Now that we’ve discussed how using E85 fuel can affect your car’s fuel efficiency, let’s dive into another potential issue: engine misfires.

Engine misfires occur when one or more cylinders in your engine fail to ignite properly, causing a disruption in the combustion process. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including rough idling, decreased power, and even stalling.

Using E85 fuel can increase the likelihood of engine misfires due to its higher ethanol content. Ethanol burns at a different rate than gasoline, and this can throw off the delicate balance that your engine relies on to run smoothly.

Causes of engine misfires can range from faulty spark plugs or ignition coils to more serious issues like a damaged fuel pump or clogged fuel injector. If you suspect that your engine is misfiring, it’s important to get it checked out by a professional mechanic.

Repair options for engine misfires depend on the underlying cause and can range from simple component replacements to more extensive engine repairs.

Warning Lights

When warning lights illuminate on the dashboard of your vehicle, you’ll see a red or yellow indicator that signals an issue with your car’s systems. If you put E85 in your non-flex fuel vehicle, you may see warning lights appear on your dashboard.

The engine control module (ECM) in your vehicle may detect the difference in fuel composition and attempt to adjust the air/fuel mixture accordingly. However, since E85 has a different oxygen content and burns at a different rate than gasoline, this adjustment can lead to engine issues that trigger warning lights.

Dealing with warning lights can be stressful and costly. If you continue to drive with a warning light illuminated, you risk further damage to your vehicle’s systems. Ignoring warning lights can also lead to expensive repair bills down the road.

In the case of using E85 in a non-flex fuel vehicle, the cost of repair for engine damage caused by the fuel can be substantial. It’s always best to consult with a certified mechanic if you’re unsure about the fuel requirements for your vehicle or if you notice warning lights on your dashboard.

How to Avoid Problems with E85

If you’re not careful, using E85 in your car could lead to performance issues and potential damage to your engine. To avoid these problems, it’s important to properly store your fuel and use fuel additives.

E85 is known to have a shorter shelf life than regular gasoline, so make sure to only purchase the amount you need and store it in a cool, dry place. This will help prevent the fuel from breaking down and potentially causing damage to your engine.

In addition to proper storage, using fuel additives can also help prevent performance issues when using E85. These additives can help improve the fuel’s stability and reduce the risk of corrosion in your engine.

Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using fuel additives and choose a product that is specifically designed for use with E85. By taking these precautions, you can avoid potential problems and continue to enjoy the benefits of using E85 in your car.


So, now you know what happens if you put E85 in your non-flex-fuel car. As we’ve discussed, E85 is a fuel that contains higher amounts of ethanol than regular gasoline. While it may be cheaper and more environmentally friendly, using E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle can cause potential problems.

If you do accidentally put E85 in your car, you may experience symptoms such as reduced fuel economy, engine misfires, and difficulty starting the engine. To avoid these problems, it’s important to always check your car’s owner’s manual or consult with a trusted mechanic before using any unfamiliar fuel type.

In conclusion, while E85 may be a viable option for flex-fuel vehicles, it’s not recommended for use in non-flex-fuel vehicles. Using E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle can lead to several potential problems, including reduced fuel economy and engine damage. Always do your research and consult with a professional before trying any new fuel type in your vehicle.