The largest source of trouble with marine engines these days lies with the fuel and fuel system. Paying regular attention to both can help prevent major headaches down the road. From hoses and connections to proper filtration and even fuel additives, time spent maintaining your fuel system helps keep you safe and your boat ready for action.

What is ethanol and why is it so bad for marine engines?

Ethanol has been added to the majority of today’s fuel supply as an oxygenate to help reduce emissions. It’s also used to extend domestic fuel supplies. Ethanol is alcohol, and alcohol is “hygroscopic,” which means it attracts water molecules. Since nearly all boat fuel tanks are vented to the atmosphere, water can (and will) collect in your fuel. When the concentration of water molecules in your fuel tank reaches just ½ of 1%, the water molecules will bond with the alcohol and sink to the bottom, where your fuel pick up is. Depending on the amount of water ingested into your WaveRunner, this can result in everything from running problems to catastrophic damage. Ethanol, being alcohol, is also a powerful solvent that can loosen debris in your fuel tank and all the tanks and lines it was in before it got to you. Once in your WaveRunner, this debris can cause everything from running issues to a no-start, no-run condition. That’s no fun.

What can I do to protect myself from the potentially damaging effects of ethanol?

Fortunately, there are simple procedures that can help, but it’s important that you do your part. This is one part of maintenance you must proactively do for yourself. As you read, scan theQR Codes® for more information.

Add fuel stabilizer and conditioner to every tank of fuel. Make sure to add a quality, marine-specific non-alcohol-based formula, like Yamalube® Fuel Stabilizer & Conditioner PLUS. These formulations are specifically designed to work effectively in the moisture-rich environments common to boats. And don’t believe some of the claims you see today; no matter what you add to bad gas, it’s still bad gas. No additive will restore stale fuel, remove water, or cure ethanol-related issues.

Tip: Today’s gasoline can begin to break down in a matter of weeks, not months. Make sure to treat every tank of fuel, not just for extended storage. 

  • Add Ring Free PLUS internal engine cleaner to every tank of fuel. The cleansing additives in the majority of today’s gas are a great start, but they’re formulated for automobiles, so they may not work as well on your WaveRunner. Do them one better. Ring Free PLUS makes performance-robbing carbon chemically unable to stick to internal engine components. The “PLUS” is a proprietary blend of synthetic anti-corrosion additives that helps protect the “yellow metals” in your fuel system (copper, brass and silver solder) from corrosion. These are key components to proper fuel system operation. This helps maintain their performance and reliability. Ring Free PLUS also cleans gums and deposits off of internal engine and fuel system components.

  • Buy your gas where they sell a lot of it. The goal is to keep your WaveRunner’s fuel fresh and potent at all times. Why buy gas that’s already been sitting around untreated? Buy the freshest fuel you can find, and at fill up, treat each tank with Yamalube Fuel Stabilizer & Conditioner PLUS and Ring Free PLUS. Add these before adding the fuel so they mix up well. It’s an easy, proactive and protective habit to get into.