Dear Car Coach: In past columns you said ethanol-blended gas was bad for cars. I have been looking for a gas station that still sells 100 percent gasoline and cannot find one. Where in the Depew or nearby area is a gas station that sells pure gasoline? And if there aren’t any, what should we do to avoid damage, if anything can be done? Thank you. – M.M.
Dear M.M.: The fact is E10 gas has been creating havoc throughout our country’s vehicle fleet and small engines. The problem is much worse than you may be aware of, as all costs of repairs and lower mileage is borne by America’s drivers.
You can get pure gasoline in most areas of the country. There are various groups out there attempting to keep an E10 supply available in the United States and a few states are trying to outlaw ethanol. The best website I have found is called www.Pure-Gas.org.
An additional problem with fuel today is the fact that ethanol absorbs water when blended with gasoline; even the humidity in the air will transfer into the fuel. This happens when fuel is stored in tanks at the fuel station. When the amount of water exceeds a certain amount, the ethanol and water “fall out” to the bottom of the tank. This is called “Phase Separation.” Phase-separated fuel confuses the engine management system, causing decreases in performance and mileage. It also leads to premature failure of expensive components and can cause a “check engine” light or issues with the mass air flow sensor.
Standard fuel additives such as dry gas and fuel stabilizer have little effect and some even aggravate the problem.
There are a few solutions to this problem – a product call Fuel Fix Rx offered by WellWorth Products in Buffalo or BG Products, Inc. in Wichita, Kan.. These additives will keep the ethanol blended and your problems should be fixed. I use it and it helped my car with a similar problem. It also helped improve my fuel economy as a bonus.
Dear Car Coach: I have this wicked smell in my car from the last time I bought pizza and wings. I think the box leaked. I love the food, but not every time I drive the car. How can I clean the car? – J.A.
Dear J.A.: Once you’ve located the stain, blot up any liquid with clean paper towels. Spray the area with a neutral detergent mixed with water. A neutral detergent has a pH of 7 and it won’t alter the color of the car interior or carpet. The list of common detergent and water mixtures: neutral detergent and water (1:20), mild ammonia and water (1:5), distilled white vinegar and water (1:1). Use a stiff-bristled brush to get the carpet clean. Never use household products in a car. To remove an odor, I use Dash Away.
Dear Car Coach: I am in the process of buying a new Silverado. I have never undercoated a vehicle and wondered if it’s worth it. If yes, where is the best place to have it done? Should I let the dealer do it? Is there a certain product that works best? – A.R.
Dear A.R.: I don’t undercoat my vehicles. The key to keeping a rust-free car is by stopping rust before it can start.
The reason some people rustproof their auto is because bare metal under the automobile will oxidize and painted surfaces won’t.
You only need to protect your car from the elements to keep the rust at bay.
The best solution is to maintain your car’s paint job and keep the undercarriage clean with a hose, hand car wash or an automatic car wash. This means a periodic checking of the most common areas where rust might occur. This will help retain the resale value of the car, too.
If you choose to rustproof your car, I’d look for a product called Rust Stop. All vehicles offer a rust warranty, but it doesn’t cover just any rust. A corrosion warranty protects against full “rust through,” which means a hole through the metal. This type of warranty does not cover surface rust. If you are planning on keeping the vehicle for a long time consider rustproofing.
The reason I’m not a fan of rustproofing is that it covers existing rust (if you have a used car) and it makes it harder for technicians to work under your vehicle as it covers everything they have to work on under the car.
Shop around for what you get for your dollar when choosing any automotive service and look for coupons online.