Why is Ethanol Bad for Small Engines

Ethanol is a type of fuel that can be used in small engines. However, ethanol is not safe to use in small engines because it can damage them over time. You may wonder why this happens and what you should do about it.

Ethanol is bad for small engines because it is a solvent that can dissolve other substances. Since ethanol is hygroscopic in nature, it is susceptible to freezing under cold weather conditions which can lead to corrosion of metal parts, including carburetors, degradation of plastic and rubber components, harder starting, and reduced engine life.

What is Ethanol?

Ethanol is a type of alcohol that can be used in place of gasoline. It is also known as grain alcohol or ethyl alcohol and whenever it is produced, it usually comes in a dilute aqueous solution form and the only way to make it concentrated is by fractional distillation.

Whenever ethanol is being produced to be used industrially, it is made unfit for human consumption. It is considered toxic to the human body because it affects the central nervous system negatively, it will impair coordination and judgment when taken in large quantities.

However, when it is taken in moderate and reasonable amounts, it can relax the muscles and also depress the inhibitory activities that are coordinated by the brain. It can easily become an addiction for some people.

Can You Put Ethanol in a Small Engine?

Yes, you can put ethanol in a small engine because ethanol is a type of alcohol that can be used in small engines. Ethanol is more efficient than gasoline and burns cleaner, so it can be a good option for cars and trucks.

However, there are some limitations. This is because ethanol has to be mixed with gasoline before you add it to your tank or engine.

Ethanol is not good for older vehicles with carburetors (which require mixing) and if too much ethanol gets into the fuel system of your car or truck at high speeds, then there may be problems with spark plugs or other parts causing damage to them.

It’s also worth noting that some states have laws prohibiting the use of E10 (10 percent ethanol) as an alternative fuel. The main reason why this happens is that people think they’re getting superior performance from using E85 (85 percent).

However, studies show that what people get when they fill up their tanks with E10 instead of regular unleaded gasoline isn’t better than what would happen if they used regular unleaded gasoline alone, it just costs less money.

Why is Ethanol Bad for Small Engines?

Ethanol is bad for small engines because it is a solvent that can cause corrosion and damage to the fuel system. It’s also a corrosive liquid, which means it can dissolve rubber, plastic, and metal parts of your engine.

This means that when ethanol mixes with water in your tank or carburetor bowl, it causes a buildup of sludge at the bottom of your fuel tank (known as “drip”).

This buildup can cause problems for small engines like lawnmowers or ATVs because they don’t have enough room in their tanks for all this extra. But you can learn how to clean ethanol residue from your carburetor.

Free radicals that are generated from the oxidation (a process where electrons gain energy from reacting with oxygen) of ethanol are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells and cause cancerous tumors if left unchecked for too long.

Ethanol also attracts water molecules, which means it becomes more hygroscopic than gasoline does when exposed to air moisture during storage or operation of an engine. As reiterated earlier, this makes it susceptible to freezing under cold weather conditions.

It can also cause some parts of the engine to be eaten away due to lack of lubrication and dehydration effects caused by ice formation inside these components over time.

How Can You Prevent Ethanol Damage to Small Engines?

To stop ethanol from damaging your small engine:

Use a Fuel Stabilizer

Ethanol can cause small engine problems, such as decreased performance and failure of the engine.

A fuel stabilizer is a substance that prevents the formation of varnish in gasoline and diesel fuels, it also helps prevent rusting after storage.

The best way to use fuel stabilizers is by adding them before you store your vehicle or boat for long periods (more than six months). This will help prevent ethanol from damaging your small engine.

Add Ethanol-Free Gas at Regular Intervals During Storage

Ethanol-free gas contains no ethanol or additives that might harm your vehicle’s systems over time; however, it may cost more than regular unleaded gasoline at the pump due to its extra cost per gallon.

Avoid Storing Your Car Outside in Hot Weather

You should avoid leaving your vehicle outside in hot weather conditions because high temperatures can accelerate corrosion on metal parts inside engines like pistons and crankshafts which could lead directly to damage when they come into contact with liquid fuel such as gasoline/petrol.

What Gas is Best for Small Engines?

In terms of gas for your small engine, there are a few things to consider.

Unleaded gasoline is the best choice because it doesn’t attract water and can therefore be used in cold weather without being frozen.

If you live in an area where gasoline isn’t available, ethanol can be used as a substitute. However, this has its own set of problems.

Does Stabil Prevent Ethanol Damage?

Yes. Sta-Bil is a fuel stabilizer that prevents ethanol damage to small engines by reducing the number of harmful acids in your fuel, which can cause corrosion and other problems if left unchecked.

The best way to use this product is through an additive tank-injection system (IBS). This keeps it from leaking out into your engine’s air intake and leaving behind residue that could cause further issues with your engine’s performance or lifespan.


Understanding ethanol can help you to protect your vehicle from damage and make sure that it performs as well as possible.

It is important to remember, however, that the best thing you can do for yourself and the environment is to use a high-quality fuel that does not contain ethanol.