5th October 2021

Guide to E10 and your classic vehicle

We are now one month into E10 being readily available at all petrol stations across the UK, but as most are aware, there are potentially some issues that E10 may cause for your classic vehicle.

Ethanol is added to petrol to make it burn more cleanly, therefore having a more positive effect on the environment, but it has a number of side-effects, particularly on classic engines and their fuel systems.

Some of the issues that could occur are: 

  • Some older vehicles used materials in their fuel systems that can degrade with the use of ethanol. These include some cork, shellac, epoxy resin and nylon to name a few.
  • Due to the nature of the classic car owner and infrequent use, ethanol can oxidise and corrode aluminium and brass components found in fuel systems and engines.
  • Air/fuel ratio enleanment: This can affect performance and engine temperatures.

So what can you do to ensure your car stays healthy? We’ve listed some of the key takeaways from the Federation of Historic Vehicle Clubs advice below:

  • Check whether your car is eligible to use E10 fuel using the Government E10 tool here. If not eligible, use the super unleaded fuel provided. As a rule of thumb, the FBHVC recommend that vehicles made before 2000 and some from the early 2000s that are considered not compatible, should use super unleaded fuel.
  • Ensure your fuel system components are inspected on a regular basis as part of a routine maintenance programme for your classic. Look to replace parts with ethanol safe options as part of a long-term strategy.
  • Use your classic regularly to ensure that the fuel in it is regularly replaced by fresh petrol.
  • If you are considering using a specialist corrosion inhibitor petrol additive, the recommendation is that elastomer and gasket materials are replaced before running your classic on E10.
  • If the vehicle is to be laid up, replace E10 petrol with ethanol free petrol, do not leave fuel systems dry when storing, as this can result in corrosion and the cracking of elastomers and gaskets as they dry out.

To see the FBHVC’s full stance on E10 with some more handy advice for you and your classic, please visit their article here.

The information contained in this blog post is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such.

I have found it very difficult to find E5, as there is none in my local Esso station. Consequently, I believe E 10 is the distributor's priority. Has anybody experienced this problem?

Alanjacks, 09/10/2021

My classic car clubs and military vehicle preservation say that there are no 'suitable E10 kits' available or known sized parts to do replacement of original materials on a timed maintenance schedule. In this case what is the 'Federation' doing to keep our historical vehicles in a 'functional state' on the highways? Presently the E5 so called 'Protection Grade' is 'out of sight' or any delivered volume there may be is 'too little - too late' in Bromley Kent. Please do something about it as the E10 Additive to E10 is an unknown/untested item to which the government are ignoring.

Spider, 09/10/2021