What Happens if you Use E85 in a Non Flex Fuel Vehicle?

What Happens if you Use E85 in a Non Flex Fuel Vehicle

You might have heard the word “Fuel blend” during your visit to a car shop, or likely not. We can likewise refer to fuel blend with the expression “Flex-fuel or flexible-fuel”. It fills in as an elective fuel that contains both normal gas and ethanol in some specific proportions.

The opposite is the case for “Non-flex vehicles”; they are vehicles that take in regular gasoline. The regular blends have an octane level of 87 to 94 while the ethanol blends (E10, E20, E30, E40…) take the range of octane values of 89 to 105. E85 to your non-flex vehicle is likely to cause disorder to your system engine.

So, what happens if you use E85 in a non flex fuel vehicle?

When you use E85 in a non-flex fuel vehicle, the fuel pumps, gaskets, fuel filters, and fuel injectors may go bad. Your vehicle can also have engine issues if the car can’t bear the burden of highly concentrated ethanol content. You should only use an E85 in a Flex vehicle that has more capacity to bear the burdens of highly hygroscopic ethanol.

What Is An E85?

An E85 is a type of fuel blend that works with flex vehicles. It contains 85% of ethanol and 15% given to gasoline. A few more definite factors can be associated with an E85 fuel blend. A few of them include:

  • It Is Cheaper: You could buy it for less than the amount you buy your normal gasoline fuel. This shouldn’t trip you into buying if your vehicle isn’t fit to hold an E85.
  • It Keeps The Engine Cool: For a compatible vehicle, E80 can cause a cooling effect to the engine. Ethanol is alcohol-based, which makes it quite hygroscopic (it can absorb moisture from the air). If found in a non-flex vehicle, it could cause a low performance to the fuel injector.
  • It Can Create A Better HP And Torque: It can boost the vehicle’s horsepower because of its cooling abilities and stable octane rate.
  • It Has A Higher Resistance To Engine Knocking: The E85 has a high resistance to engine knocking.

These advantages are premium reasons why people want a fuel-flex car. Ethanol is extracted from crops like corn, which makes it available and unavailable in different regions of the states.

It is available in the Midwest region of the United States while other regions have to be in the queue to get some E85 gasoline. Regions like England and the Pacific Northwest.

Aside from Corn, sugarcane can also be fermented to produce ethanol contents, which is common in Brazil.

According to the United States energy information administration, it says “Pure ethanol compared to gasoline has a lower heating value, which makes starting the car’s engine in cold regions harder than usual”.

A major issue is that it isn’t accessible as it is supposed to be in all regions. This way, not all will want to get it, most especially folks in the cold region of the world.

The Disadvantage of Using E85

E85 can’t be that all rosy. If it has an advantage, it should also have some side effects which you’re about to find out shortly.

It Could Cause Possible Engine Problems

Because of the high level of the ethyl-ethanol present in E85, it can absorb dirt easily, unlike normal gasoline. This can cause damage to the engine.

Causes A Lower MPG

We can trace the amount of ethanol content of the fuel that is running in the engine to a Loss in MPG. It proved ethanol to have lower energy content per gallon, unlike gasoline.

Because of its high vaporization power, ethanol (E85) fuel burns faster than gasoline, which causes your engine to eat through faster than that regular gas.

It Is Not Available In High Quantity In All Regions

Depending on the weather, geography, and the resources for producing an E85, it is mostly unavailable in some regions.

You could find it in abundance in the Midwest region of the United States and at a very low supply rate in regions like the Pacific Northwest.

This is a typical disadvantage. it is highly inaccessible unlike regular gasoline.

Can You Run E85 in A Non-Flex Vehicle?

No, you shouldn’t use an E85 in a non-flex vehicle; it can shut down the engine. Only a “Flex-fuel or flexible-fuel” vehicle can take in an E85.

The corrosive action of ethanol on a fuel system is a better reason to quit the idea of buying an E85 in your non-flex vehicle. But, there could be a shift which will cost you some money.

Ethanol is corrosive because of the presence of some chemical compounds like magnesium, aluminum, and rubber.

To use an E85 in a non-flex vehicle will require you to replace some part of your vehicle that shows some defects because of the corrosiveness of ethanol.

It will require you replace the fuel hose, pump, and gasket, tuning your fuel system, and many others, and this doesn’t guarantee a stable engine system anymore.

Mechanically, you shouldn’t get yourself an E85 in your Non-flex vehicle, it’s damaging and costly.

What Happens If You Use E85 In A Non-Flex Fuel Vehicle?

Using the wrong type of fuel shouldn’t be a big deal most times, but it doesn’t shield you from the consequences if there is one. What if you accidentally have E85 in your car? What then happens?

At first, have it in mind to spend more on some costly repairs because E85 can tamper with the fueling system of your engine.

The fuel pump, the engine filters, the fuel injectors, the fuel lines, and many other components of your fueling systems get to quit working bit by bit.

Some will probably shut down immediately, which will require you to tow it to the nearest mechanic station.

There is no need to panic, and neither should you have your heart jump out of your mouth. If it happens, you can fix it.

It could be a draining process to make it work smoothly or change some parts of the engine to fit into specifications for it to function effectively.

A one-time mistake shouldn’t cost you the entire bank, but no one can tell. If it breaks the system completely, you bear it anyway. I would rather prescribe caution in place of some dollars for repair.

What to Do If You Use E85 In A Non-Flex Fuel Vehicle?

Only a few times will your engine light turn off immediately. Don’t freak out, there are a few basic things you could do, they are:

1. Check If Your Engine Light Is Still On

Many times, the engine light doesn’t go off at once. If the addition of the E85 is a mistake, probably only a small quantity has found itself in the fueling system. This can’t affect the vehicle.

The best move will be to top up the car with the regular fuel. A higher quantity should overcome the lower quantity. If the engine light doesn’t turn on, it will require towing to the nearest mechanic station.

2. Tow To The Nearest Mechanic Station

The mechanic speaks a better car ‘language than you do. You probably are thinking there is an error with the fueling components and the best move is to have it replaced for it to be in good health.

After a quick check with the mechanic, it could be a distinct problem entirely. If your engine light doesn’t turn on, tow it to the nearest mechanic.


E85 is cheaper but also has some disadvantages even to flex vehicles. It is costly if you have this same fuel blend run through your non-flex car.

Major problems like fuel injectors, fuel pumps, and other parts of the fueling system of your vehicle get damaged and will need a tow to the nearest mechanic station in most cases. You should avoid this if you can.