UK fuel: E10 petrol could ensure this vital car part degrades more quickly in classic cars

Classic car wonders may find rubber inside their petrol tanks becomes “degraded” by ethanol blended fuel which can lead to consequences. Paul Ireland, fuel researcher and author of Classic Engines: Modern Fuel has warned the ethanol fuel could make target rubber “go hard” which may lead to leaks. 

“The main thing is that you’ve just gotta keep yourself aware, ‘my petrol holes may have leaked, let’s have a sniff of the car when we get in it, if we smell petrol we’ll investigate’.”

However, he reassured road users that damage would be “very cheap” to replace with a complete set of rubber hoses available for around £50.

He said the rubber in older models was “going away” anyway and that the problem would not be a “big issue”.

He told “If you’ve got an old fuel hose from the 1940s and you run an ethanol petrol through it, it will probably make it degrade more quickly. 

“But the point is if it’s that old it might degrade in one year rather than three years and as I say they are pretty cheap to replace. 

“There are bits in the fuel pump and sometimes rubber components in the carburetor so you’ve got this non metallic component which can be degraded by ethanol but they are also degraded by petrol anyway. It is an issue but it’s not a big issue.”

E10 fuel will contain more ethanol than previous petrol making up ten percent of the total product alongside 90 percent octane. 

There are fears that this extra ethanol could cause a range of issues to models which have not been built to use the fuel. 

This includes any vehicles built before 2002 but there are fears some models built before 2011 could also be affected. 

Tests conducted by the Department for Transport have backed up Mr Ireland’s analysis as they revealed rubber was particularly affected by the new fuel. 

They identified issues with the new E10 fuel including issues such as degradation of fuel holes and seals, blocked fuel filters, damaged fuel pumps and corroded carburettors. 

They also noticed that injectors became blocked and the fuel tanks had become corroded. 

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