Most power equipment dealers work hard to provide their customers with the right products, service and customer experience to keep them coming back for years. However, one small oversight could be creating more unhappy customers than dealers may realize.

That oversight is selling a customer a $300 or $3,000 mower (or other piece of outdoor equipment) and then allowing them to ruin that equipment with pump gas. Too many customers assume that fuels and oils are all the same and unknowingly cause damage and shorten the life of their lawn mower and outdoor equipment.

Since outdoor power equipment only performs as well as the fluids inside, this presents a golden opportunity for power equipment dealers to truly do right by their customers. Selling ethanol-free, 2-cycle and 4-cycle small engine fuel ensures that customers are maximizing performance while protecting their investment. It also provides an ongoing revenue opportunity for dealers instead of the corner gas station.

The most important fact to remember is that fuel blended with ethanol is for cars – not outdoor power equipment.

Why?

Because ethanol absorbs water over time, leading to poor engine performance. As an example, E10 gas absorbs up to 50 times more water than standard gasoline. Even worse, one of the properties of ethanol is that it is an excellent solvent – meaning, it will dissolve plastic and rubber. Plastic and rubber happen to be what the fuel lines, fittings and carburetor parts are made of in most 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines.

 

What many dealers and customers don’t realize is that while the Environmental Protection Agency approved gasoline with 15 percent ethanol for use in cars year 2001 or newer, it prohibits its use in mowers and other power equipment, stating it may cause damage. A Department of Energy study found that E15 caused hotter operating temperatures, erratic running, and engine-part failure. But even gas with the usual 10 percent ethanol (E10) can contribute to small engine destruction.

“Ethanol has inherent properties that can cause corrosion of metal parts, including carburetors, degradation of plastic and rubber components, harder starting, and reduced engine life,” says Marv Klowak in an article with Consumer Reports News. Mark is the global vice president of research and development for Briggs & Stratton, the largest manufacturer of small engines. “The higher the ethanol content, the more acute the effects.” Servicing dealers are reporting similar problems, even with E10, according to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, the industry’s trade group.

The OPEI also claims that proposed warnings at pumps are insufficient and that customers will blame equipment makers should mowers and other outdoor gear fail from being accidentally fueled with E15 gasoline. Using gasoline with more than the usual 10-percent ethanol has long voided most small-engine warranties.

Now suppose you’re becoming convinced that recommending a high-quality, ethanol-free fuel would be a good idea to help your customers while improving your bottom line. The question now becomes, which fuel brand should I carry?

While it’s tempting to go with the OEM brands, don’t forget that they don’t actually make the fuel – they simply rebrand fuel that is manufactured by a third party. What’s more, if you are not sure who is actually making the small engine fuel, how can you be sure that it is any good?

Fortunately, the fuel experts at VP Racing Fuels have developed a line of ethanol-free, high-octane small engine fuels designed especially for 2-cycle and 4-cycle equipment. Not only do these fuels deliver industry leading performance and meet OEM requirements (the oil used in the 2-cycle fuels is JASO FD certified) – they are guaranteed stable up to 5 years in the unopened can!

In addition to a high-quality fuel, engine lubrication is critical to the performance of mowers and other 4-cycle outdoor equipment. VP Racing Fuels has developed a full synthetic engine oil that meets both the SAE 30W and 10W-30 viscosity specs for Kawasaki, Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler and other manufacturers. The oil is designed for all 4-cycle small engines (air cooled, liquid cooled and diesel) and exceeds API SJ standards. Its synthetic base stocks significantly improve both low and high temperature performance as well as oil longevity.  All VP small engine oils also have high levels of ZDDP to help reduce wear and a top detergent package to insure engine cleanliness.

With consumers and commercial customers flocking online to shop as a result of COVID-19, what better product category to add to your in-store and online assortment than high-quality, ethanol-free 2-cycle and 4-cycle fuels and lubricants from a 45-year trusted brand like VP Racing Fuels?

Become a VP dealer today.