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E10 Fuel

E10 will soon become the norm when filling up with unleaded at garage forecourts across the UK. E10 denotes that the fuel contains up to 10% renewable bioethanol.
E10 has been produced as a more environmentally friendly fuel for use in modern cars, it produces less CO2 whilst at the same time marginally improving fuel efficiency (when compared to unleaded containing 0-5% ethanol). HOWEVER, it is NOT RECOMMENDED for many GARDEN MACHINERY applications**, older cars or small motorcycles, more specifically engines fitted with vented fuel systems and carburettors.

Ethanol is unfortunately great at absorbing moisture from the atmosphere, in vented fuel systems the longer the fuel sits in the tank, carburettor (and even a jerry can) the more moisture is likely to be absorbed, to the point that separation of fuel and water can even become visible.

Once enough water is present in the fuel, not only will your engine possibly not start but the very corrosive nature of the ethanol-water mix will begin to corrode the components of the fuel system. The resulting small debris blocks the fine jets and ports of the carburettor, if evaporation of the fuel occurs then a jelly, gummy like deposit will also form. Any damage to the fuel system will likely lead to an expensive repair bill for the owner in either cleaning the fuel system or replacing the carburettor and other components.

Why do modern cars not suffer the same fate?

Cars since 2011 had to be manufactured to run on E10. Many cars from the 90’s and 2000’s may also be fine as they use sealed fuel injection systems which prevents any moisture in the atmosphere getting into the system … assuming you’re using fresh fuel that is! (fresh being 30 days or less!).

What do we recommend for Garden Machinery?

Ideally we’d advise Stihl Moto4Plus for 4-stroke engines and Stihl Moto-mix for 2-stroke engines, these fuels have been specifically stabilised by the manufacturer, lasting up to 5 years once opened. For those using fuel in bulk and preferring pump fuel because of the cost implications you could opt for Super Unleaded 97 Octane (E5 5% Ethanol), for additional reassurance consider mixing in a stabilising additive, Hayter and Briggs & Stratton branded products available in store, these slow the oxidation of the fuel and prolong the shelf life.

Putting your machinery away for Winter (or long periods of time).

Whichever fuel you run if you are putting your machinery into storage for any length of time, run the machine completely empty of fuel first and start with fresh fuel next time you’re ready to use it again..
**Some manufacturers are stating that E10 can be used in some of their products, but thoroughly check the owners manual first and if in doubt default back to the recommend fuels above. If your machine allows the use of E10 consider using a stabiliser and buy in smaller volumes so the fuel is as fresh as possible.

Stihl Moto4Plus & Moto-mix stabilised fuel for Garden Machinery – available in store