Saturday , July 11 2020

UK fuel: Classic car engines may struggle to ignite when new E10 fuel is launched

Classic cars are incompatible with the new fuel which is set to be introduced at forecourts from 2021. The changes could mean accidentally filling up a tank with the new petrol could have consequences for owners unaware of the risks.  

The issue stems from the higher amount of ethanol inside the new fuel which could act as a corrosive to some of the car’s metal and plastics. 

The rate of damage all depends on whether engines have been adjusted to deal with modern fuel which means some restored older vehicles could be safe. 

Holts Auto also says motorists who have not managed to get key parts refitted may be able to use lubricants to reduce the risk of damage.

Speaking to, a spokesperson said: “While some car owners are concerned about the effects of E10, the problem of corrosive fuel isn’t a new one.

“For vintage car owners, unleaded fuel itself has been an issue since it was first introduced, because it’s not compatible with engines which were originally designed to run on leaded petrol.

“Because of this, some classic car owners may already be accustomed to modifying their engines for fuel reasons, or else using additives to maintain fragile components. 

“For example, many drivers have had to replace valve seats and fuel lines with more durablealternatives as a means of running their car safely on standard unleaded. 

“Others use lead additives each time they fill up to make sure that components stay well maintained and lubricated.

“For this reason, the introduction of E10 may not be as a big a problem as some drivers fear.”

Current E5 fuel will remain on forecourts for the immediate future as the new E10 petrol is slowly accepted by road users. 

However the government has already warned the sale of E5 can only be protected until 2026 when a review would be needed to assess its overall demand. 

At this stage, E5 could then be removed from forecourts which may push motorists into car updates or buying a new vehicle. 

Holts Auto has warned the long term effects of using E10 fuel will be hard to understand for the time being as many owners simply avoid using ethanol fuel for risk of damage. 

This could mean the extent of car damage and the effect it could have on many older vehicles may still be relatively unknown. 

A Holts Auto spokesperson said: “It’s not yet clear to what extent E10 fuel will impact the performance and integrity of classic cars. 

“Currently, classic car owners will make an effort to avoid biofuels because of the corrosive properties of ethanol, so it’s hard to know what the long-term effects of using E10 in an older car will be.”

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