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What Can Flex Fuel do to a car Not Designed to Handle it? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

What Can Flex Fuel do to a car Not Designed to Handle it?

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Ethanol mixes can save you about a buck per gallon at the pump and more and more cars are being built flex fuel ready. But what's the cost of putting it into a car that's not built for it? Valley News team's Eric Crest finds out how the alternative gas might leave you calling a tow truck driver.
More and more gas stations have them now-a-days. An ethanol based alternative to gasoline. Their handles are typically bright and yellow and all of the warnings are there front and center. But sometimes curiosity gets the better of us.
"I just wanted to see if it would work," admits Jack Gower, who put it into his non-flex fuel vehicle some time ago.
Mechanics will tell you all too often people don't know what they did wrong to make their car not start. Or maybe they just have a hard time confessing they do know.
"A lot of the time it's hard to get the information out of the people. They don't want to admit they put the wrong fuel in their car," says Jeff Fitzpatrick a mechanic at West Acres Automotive in Fargo.
It all depends on the vehicle and how much ethanol based fuel you pumped into your car. That will determine how your non-flex fuel automobile will respond to the product that isn't welcome.
"I know it don't run in older vehicles. It's like putting diesel fuel in it," says Gower.
"It won't run. It won't even try to start," adds Fitzpatrick.
At West Acres Automotive they see the problem happen more often than you'd think. And while the solution isn't terribly complicated it does cost a few hundred bucks for a quick lapse in judgement.
"If we know that they put E-85 in it or diesel, we'll completely drain the tank either through the fuel lines or pull the tank out and dump it all out," says Fitzpatrick.
So even if you don't remember doing it in the first place. Or maybe someone borrowed your car and tried to do you the favor of filling it up. The diagnoses isn't complicated. 
"Crank, crank, crank, crank and it won't fire," says Fitzpatrick describing the noises he's heard when trying to start a vehicle with the wrong fuel.
"My pickup wouldn't start. It wouldn't even run. It pinged," says Gower.
So take a hard look next time your filling up. You don't want to have to visit these guys because you we're in such a rush you didn't have the time to use your better judgement.
Mechanics would likely have to empty your gas tank until it's bone dry to get you back on the road. So in addition to wasting money on the wrong gasoline, you would also probably be looking at a 300 to 350 dollar bill from your mechanic.
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