Street Gas Brings Disgruntled Customers

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Recently I met an unhappy customer at a power equipment repair shop. “I bought this new chain saw here a year ago and had to bring it back for a fuel system rebuild,” he said. “Six months later I’m back getting the same work done. Is it me or is this shop taking advantage of me?”

He had been using pump gas, but the shop neglected to warn him about the problems with street gas and the advantages of fueling with ethanol-free fuels formulated for quick starts. How many dissatisfied customers do you think that shop has? They might not ever know since they just won’t come back. I’ve also heard that 95% of OEMs warranty work is pump gas related—so I’ll bet they’d like you to use small engine fuels too.

Problems with ethanol fuel are here to stay; but luckily some very easy to use, simple solutions are too. Whenever a new engine leaves the shop, I’d have a quart of small engine fuel in it. From what I’ve seen on the market, VP’s Small Engine Fuel line is the choice I’d make. It’s an internationally known racing fuel company based in Texas, and considering they put the same effort into small engine fuels as they do for the professional racers, you can bet its good stuff. Their reputation comes from decades of powering 2-cycle and 4-cycle motorcycle and sled engines to championships around the world.

I use it, and it is available for 4-cycle engines and also for 2-cycle engines, using full synthetic FD rated 2-cycle oil. I used to mix oil and gas for my chain saw and when I raced karts, but the pre-mix makes it easy for anyone to use. Especially for those, not pointing fingers at anyone in my group, who are mathematically challenged.

Thinking back, I was reminded of the origins of the small engine fuels, at least at VP. A race fuel dealer in New England had been contacted by a local fire department; as the story goes, the night before they had responded to an emergency call and when they arrived on scene they found a driver pinned in his car. The tree he had crashed into had fallen onto his car, trapping him inside. As the EMTs did their best to attend to the critically injured driver the firemen were unable to start their chain saw and begin the rescue. The department in the next town was very close and was able to respond, helping cut the tree away.

That call to the local race fuel dealer began a mission at VP to create a fuel that would start in extreme temps, hot or cold, whether the engine had been running an hour earlier or six months ago.

I’m also reminded of a few examples someone laid out for me when discussing the cost of these small engine fuels. Based on a 12 oz. serving people pay as much as $21 for a gal. of coffee and $53 for a gal. of beer, all of which provides the caffeine or relaxation desired but shortly thereafter it’s all down the drain. Heck, when converting to gallons, some people pay $1600 for perfume! When most people weigh the value of insurance that a small engine will start, whether it’s at a job site, for Saturday chores or where seconds and lives matter, the cost is much easier to swallow. Many of us still remember the automotive oil filter commercial too where the repairman says pay me now or pay me later!

One last thought: I had a small generator that purred for hours but began to run poorly and then not at all. Yep, I was cheap and using pump gas. The rebuild quote was $150, and then I noticed a can of Fix It Fuel on the shelf. The counter guy never mentioned it, but I went ahead and bought a can. Once I got home I poured it in and within five minutes I heard her liven up and run like new. Fix-It Fuel is designed as a single use treatment for poor/non-running small engines damaged by ethanol-blended street gas. It cleans and rejuvenates the fuel system to start easily and operate in top condition. Fix-It Fuel is a pre-mixed ethanol-free 89-octane gas + oil blend. Although mixed with oil at 50:1, it works in any 2- and 4-cycle small engine application. That’s good stuff.