What You Can Do to Avoid & Treat Bad Fuel

Todd MatvickAs Director of Research and Development at Lube-Tech, Todd Matvick knows a thing or two about developing fuel additives, 2 stroke, 4 stroke, driveline and industrial lubricants.

Todd received his Bachelors of Science in Toxicology form Minnesota Sate-Manktao and has been working for Lube-Tech for 16 years.. Matvick is an active member in the following industry organizations: STLE (Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers), ILMA (Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association), OPEI Engines and Fuels Committee and the National Marine Manufacturers Association Oil Certification Committee.

By: Director of Research and Development, Lubrication Technologies, Inc., Todd Matvick

When your snow blower or lawn mower won’t start for the first snow or cut of the season, “bad” fuel or stale gasoline is often the culprit. Using an effective fuel treatment for maintenance and storage can mean an easier start for the first use of the season. But before you use a fuel treatment, you should learn about what causes stale gas and how to avoid it.

At Lube-Tech we provide all kinds of fuels for various kinds of equipment and industries. We custom blend fuels for our customers and their engines so we know all about the problems that can occur with bad gas. Here’s what Briggs & Stratton consumers should know about stale fuel:

Oxidation and Bad Fuel

Specifically, stale gasoline or bad fuel is fuel that has oxidized. Gasoline can begin to degrade and oxidize 30 days after its pumped. During oxidation, fuel molecules become less stable. As fuel oxidizes it can turn to gum and clog jets and other openings in the fuel system, leading to non-starting or poor running conditions. Gummed up carburetors cause serious problems in power equipment that sees intermittent use or long periods of storage, such as your snow throwers and lawn mowers. If you store quality gasoline properly, that is in an airtight container at a stable cool temperature, it should stay stable indefinitely. But unfortunately, the gas tank of your lawn mower isn’t considered an ideal place for storing gas and it can become stale in your tank over time.

Signs of Stale Gasoline Signs of Stale Gasoline Signs of Stale Gasoline

Ethanol-blended Fuel

About 90-percent of the fuel sold in the United States contains ethanol, usually designated as E10 at the pump. Ethanol-blended fuel is a corrosive substance and can cause the gradual destruction of the metal used in the fuel systems of outdoor power equipment. Corrosion in the fuel system can come from two areas – water and the fuel itself. Ethanol-blended fuel is especially corrosive to soft metals found in fuel systems such as brass and aluminum. Ethanol also absorbs water, drawing it into the fuel mixture. Water is highly corrosive to a fuel system and, when ethanol and water combine, it can cause performance problems and fuel system damage.

Stale Gas Treatments: What you can do about it

In order to ensure your lawn mower and snow blower engines continue to start easily and last longer, I recommended using a fuel treatment and stabilizer, especially when using ethanol-blended fuel in your engine. Engineers at Briggs & Stratton and here at Lube-Tech worked together to develop a superior treatment. You can read all about the Briggs & Stratton Advanced Formula Fuel Treatment & Stabilizer-the only 5-in-1 formula that prevents ethanol problems and stabilizes fuel-here.

Make sure you address any fuel-related problems as soon as possible. In many cases, engine damage related to bad fuel voids the warranty of the engine.

Let me know if you have questions about stale gas in the comments below.

Note from Briggs & Stratton: Lube-Tech is based in Minnesota and offers advanced lubrication and energy solutions to help maximize productivity, efficiencies and equipment life. Lube-Tech’s roots date back almost 100 years and they have one of the largest delivery areas in the upper Midwest including Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Nebraska. Thanks to Dan for providing this great information for us!

NOTICE: Customer service questions are not monitored via the blog. If you need assistance with your Briggs & Stratton engine or power equipment, please contact our Answer Center or post your question to our User Community.