Minimising Ethanol-Blended Fuel Problems In Your Toro Lawn Mower

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One emerging issue as trends such as biomass recycling and biofuels become more common is engine compatibility. Case in point, there are thousands of Toro lawnmowers currently in use around the country that have not been designed to run on fuel blends that contain more than 10 percent ethanol. Ultimately, its use in these machines has been known to cause performance issues, damage to the engine, and leads to other problems that are not covered by warranty.

We have provided some preventative maintenance tips to help you minimize these ethanol-blended fuel problems:

  • Only purchase what will be used in 30 days
    Keep in mind that fuel deteriorates over time, beginning with the evaporation of the most volatile compounds. Once evaporation reaches a certain point, it will be hard or even impossible to start the mower. As more compounds evaporate, brown gummy deposits will form in the fuel and will form a hard varnish if left for too long.

  • Add a fuel stabiliser to whatever you do buy
    Most of the stabilisers currently on the market will form a layer over the top of the fuel, which greatly reduces the rate at which its compounds evaporate. Be sure to check this when purchasing. They will also prevent the absorption of moisture and, if added to the fuel on the day of purchase, they will help it to stay fresh for longer.

  • Buy unleaded fuel with an 87 octane rating
    Unleaded petrol with an octane rating of at least 87 is the recommended fuel grade for all Toro lawn mowers. Fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol or 15 percent methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) by volume is acceptable. Keep in mind that ethanol and MTBE are not the same – using an unapproved fuel may cause performance problems and will encourage moisture absorption.

  • Never use fuel with more than 10% ethanol
    The engines used in your lawn mower have not been designed for use with fuel that contains more than 10 percent ethanol. Using a higher ethanol-blended fuel can lead to engine damage and performance issues. It is strongly recommended that you read the owner’s manual to determine the type of fuel that has been approved for the machine.

  • Consider using fuel without any ethanol in it
    By using fuel that contains no ethanol (known as E0), you will find that the amount of moisture that can be absorbed from the atmosphere has been greatly reduced. Many areas of the country have ethanol-free fuel available, so finding it should be fairly easy. Simply ask in at your local petrol station or do a quick search on the internet.

  • Never ever use fuel that contains methanol
    It is essential to keep in mind that ethanol and methanol are not the same thing. Never use a fuel that contains methanol in your mower, as it will completely ruin the engine and is definitely not covered by warranty. The good news is that these fuels are usually well signed, so it shouldn’t be overly easy for you to make a mistake.

It is important to note that, even if you do use the appropriate fuel, it will still absorb some water from the atmosphere, which can cause corrosion of the fuel system components. This is why it is essential that you add a fuel stabiliser to your Toro lawn mower, as it will help to prevent this from occurring. At the end of the day, you just need to pay attention to the fuel you’re purchasing and what it contains. All it takes is a little common sense.

Marie Safel wrote this article on behalf of Hastings Mowers