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E 85 in unmodified car

HI - I think I might have done something terrible. I stopped at a gas station in a neighboring town and started filling my car with their cheapest gas. After a moment (ok, a few moments) it dawned on me that the gas I was using was E 85!!! So, did I destroy my engine? I have a 1999 Toyota. I had about 1/3 tank of regular in the car, and topped off with premium gas. The lady at the cash register said she thought I’d have to bleed my gas tank, but a guy in line said it shouldn’t make any difference. I just drove the apx. 50 miles home and the car ran fine. I called my mechanic and he said that he hadn’t heard of Toyotas being hurt by E-85, although Fords are. He recommended that I just keep topping off with regular once I go down a quarter tank.

What do you guys think? Other than that I’m a dummy.

Should I have my gas tank bled, or keep topping off with regular? Will the rubber & plastics disolve? Help!

No need to drain the tank.

Keep filling with regular at the HALF mark for two or three more tanks. After that you can go back to your normal routine. One tank of E85 is unlikely to do any damage, and since you realized your mistake before the tank filled completely you minimized the ethanol content.

Stop worrying. Your car will be OK. The rubber and plastics will not dissolve that quickly. It takes more than one tank.

Your Toyota can tolerate E10 on a regular basis, but it’s not built for E85. If they sell E85 in your area you’ll have to be more careful in the future.

So you have 2/3 real gas, 1/3 E85? That makes it about E28…might be OK if you frequently fill with normal gas. Do you have E10 where you are? It would go quicker if you could use E0 (no ethanol) but that can be hard to find.

Thank you! Is the half tank mark a better fill point than a quarter down?

There is no E-10 nearby. And I surely wasn’t expecting to find E-85 either, especially in a teeny little town in the middle of nowhere. Not that that’s an excuse.

  In most areas of the US Ethanol is added during part of the year to all fuel.  It results in less emissions and a little less mileage.  Small % don't hurt.  Most car makers OK the use of 5%-10% in all their cars.   I agree with MC and I doubt if you have done any damage.  But I would not do it again.

1/4 down is fine. I thought you meant 1/4 remaining. Just refill more often than normal a few times. Then the E85 will be diluted as much as possible.

I know I am going against the grain here, but I would siphon out as much E85 as I could just to be safe.

Cars that are not designed for E85 usually have exposed plastic and rubber parts that can be deteriorated by exposure to E85.

I would buy a cheap siphon pump and few large gasoline cans (not plastic) and take out as much E85 as I could. Then fill the rest of the tank with gas and you can safely use a little E85 at a time mixing it with regular gas until it is gone.

I tend to err on the side of caution.

How long do you think it will be until you use a quarter-tank?

I’ve been stopping by the neighborhood gas station every day after work (I made the error a week ago) and topping off with regular. It’s just a gallon or so a day, though. Normally I drive 24 miles a day and the car gets about 34 mgp. The car continues to run and start well - it was 30 below this morning and I don’t have a block heater!

This adventure has caused lots of conversation. I’ve been surprised how many people mix a % of their tank with regular and a % with E-85 on a regular basis - and in a wide range of cars and trucks. I didn’t even know there were that many E85 gas stations around! And of course everyone’s percentages are different.

I think Whitey’s advice above sounds good if I weren’t a car wimp and mechanophobe, but I am . . . plus it’s 30 below (well, just 15 below now.) So I’ll just have to watch and see what happens. We’ll consider this a science experiment, and I’ll report back if anything interesting results from this.

Thanks to all!