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Ethanol and Classic Cars

New Study Shows Ethanol Not the Enemy for Older Cars

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The next time you take your classic out for a cruise night or car show, do an impromptu poll with those in attendance and see how many folks feel that the ethanol now used in modern fuels is detrimental for their older vehicles. We wouldn't be surprised if the majority said yes and had a story about how they thought ethanol was the culprit in a mechanical malady.

Insurance companies specializing in classic car policies may even contain an ethanol clause and will not pay out claims if it has been found to destroy your engine. Hagerty Insurance, a leader in insuring vintage vehicles, was so concerned that they, in conjunction with the Kettering University Advanced Engine Research Laboratory, conducted a study to determine how much danger ethanol really poses to vintage cars.

Preliminary results have recently been reported on Hagerty’s website and they conclude:

"The results from the tests with the SU carburetors and fuel pumps suggest that E10 can be used in older vehicles, although the owner is likely to be faced with the additional costs associated with sealing fuel tanks and cleaning and rebuilding fuel systems more frequently than in the past. However, it’s best to be cautious about reading into these preliminary results until the tests of the five other fuel systems are complete. Until then, it’s safe to assume that you can continue to drive your collector vehicle using E10; it may just cost you more in the long run."

The complete article for the Kettering study, Ethanol: Demonic or Devine, leaves us feeling like E10 is not the bad guy that it has been made out to be, you just need to be aware of the additional care your classic car will need over time.

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