'Very dangerous': Drivers warned of new E10 fuel causing issues with flashing petrol light


The new standard of unleaded petrol has led to vehicle problems for drivers, from a “sputtering” engine to a decrease in their fuel efficiency. When it was launched onto forecourts on September 1, the Government said it would marginally impact fuel economy – generally around one percent.

Despite this, Express reader Ray Forsyth, said he had experienced issues relating to their use of E10 petrol.

They said: “Put E10 fuel in my car and two weeks later, engine light comes on.

“Fuel trim in the data sitting at around 35 percent (also various seals have gone etc).

“Without repairing anything, put the Tesco higher octane fuel in (which is still E5) and fuel trim drops to 20 percent!

READ MORE: E10 fuel may affect ‘every petrol car’

There is a mechanism called a fuel level sensor which measures the level of fuel within the tank and is made up of a float switch, variable resistor and a wiper.

When a vehicle’s fuel level changes, the wiper moves across the variable resistance with a metal connecting rod, causing the measure of voltage to change.

When the fuel tank is empty, the wiper points to high resistance and vice versa, this is the formula on which the fuel gauge is measured and recorded.

The problem which may cause the petrol light to flash before the fuel tank is actually low is related to the fuel level sensor.

Within the fuel level sensor are small metal parts which send the readings to the driver’s dashboard and cause the light to flash.

Over time, these metal parts become corroded and negatively influence the mechanism inside the fuel level sensor, resulting in false fuel level readings. 

Dealing with fuel components can be dangerous and should be approached with caution.

Motorists who own slightly older cars and are concerned that they may be starting to get inaccurate fuel level readings should firstly refine the type or grade of fuel they are using.

Impurities and any water in some types of fuel can contribute to corroding and rust in the fuel level sensor.

A spokesperson from LeaseElectricCar.co.uk said: “Although it is not always simple to understand why the fuel light is flashing after filling up the tank, we wanted to break down the mechanisms inside the tank that many motorists may not be aware of.

“Gaining an understanding of the different components and how they work can help when seeking repairs for any issues with your fuel level sensor.

“Any motorists who feel as though they may be having issues with incorrect fuel level readings should always seek help from professionals, as dealing with fuel components can be very dangerous.”

There have been reports that the ethanol content in E10 fuel can corrode things like rubber and plastic, which could lead to incorrect readings with the petrol light.



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