Rico’s TICO BULL – If you are like me, have older cars, the question with respect to RECOPE’s decision to replace ‘super’ gasoline with an ethanol mix, is it safe to use in older engines?
In my case, I have two older vehicles, a 1975 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 and 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SE. Both are gasoline powered. In both cases, I find the use of super over regular gives me better performance. Neither is good on gas mileage at higher speeds. The super blend does give me the kick from a standstill and push when I floor it (as I watch the gas tank level drop) on the highway.
I am not going to bore with what and the why of ethanol, but focus on what it will mean for my cars and for the cars of the many expats in Costa Rica who prefer an older vehicle to a new one, who for some is a question of economics, for me I just love to run around my ragtop FJ40 with no windows and love to be able to go anywhere and leave it any place and not fear of it being broken into or stolen.
I get a kick at some of the mall security, from time to time, leaving me a note on the windshield that I did not secure my car. Uh? It has no locks, no windows, it is all metal. Anything of valuable I do not leave in it, like my quick pass. Once a security person closed my air vents, he couldn’t understand my humor when I complained that he had tampered with my air conditioning system. But I digress.
What’s important for me, is it bad for my engine?
I know from my mechanic that more than one mix ethanol prior to the vehicular inspection (Riteve) to get better emission results. It’s up there with renting tires.
The answer I found online is that it all depends on your engine. If you’re driving a new(er) car, the answer is no, ethanol is not bad for your engine. This is because our modern engines are designed to run on the gasoline/ethanol combination, and have been fitted with alcohol-resistant seals and hoses.
But on the flip side, if you’re driving an older vehicle, then ethanol may cause problems.
Alcohol is a highly corrosive substance that’s hard on seals, rubber, and even some metals. Over time it will eat away at your vehicle’s most vulnerable components.
Also, alcohol in an old engine can start to dislodge the build-up of carbon deposits from inside the engine. That may sound like a good thing. But it isn’t. Over time that build up can actually move into places like the engine’s fuel supply damaging your vehicle’s fuel intake components. Over time your car will require new gaskets and o-rings in the fuel system.
Your engine can actually be destroyed if the ethanol content in the fuel is too high. RECOPE assures it will only use an 8% mix, and I suppose we can rely on this being good for while the mix is imported, as RECOPE plans to do at first, but what about when the RECOPE starts to mix its own?
Ethanol is not for every engine. At least not in my older ones.
Come the end of May, when RECOPE will no longer be selling super but replacing with Eco 95, I may have to switch to Plus 91 or regular. I will miss the ‘ante-mayo-29’ days.
What’s your opinion? Do you have an older car and will you do? Post your comments below or to the Q’s official Facebook page.
In the meantime, watch MotorWeek’s video of Pat Goss as to whether older cars and ethanol mix