Q: I have a car that I store over the winter, and I fill it with ethanol-free gasoline because I've heard that the ethanol in gas can break down quickly. Is there any benefit to using ethanol-free in my daily drivers, a 2019 BMW X3 and a 2014 BMW 335? While we don't go through gas these days as quickly as we did pre-pandemic, we still refill these cars at least every month to six weeks.
A: Ethanol-free gasoline is a good idea for storing a car. As for your other cars, using pure gasoline generally provides up to 5% better fuel economy. It's what the EPA uses to establish fuel economy ratings. Is it worth the higher price? You decide.
Too much of a good thing?
Q: Which grade of gasoline would be best for storing my 18-year-old, carbureted Suzuki motorcycle? The owner's manual says to use regular grade gasoline for everyday riding. When I store my motorcycle, I use both Sta-Bil and premium gas. In the spring, the first tank is premium. A mechanic friend says I'm overdoing things.
A: In my opinion, you aren't overdoing anything unless you wear out the threads on the oil drain plug. Lack of adequate service, on the other hand, is asking for trouble. But I do agree that you probably are wasting your money using premium gas during storage.
New battery can wait
Q: The battery in my motorcycle seemed to be getting a bit weak, so I ordered a new one online. It came with the sulfuric acid packaged separately in a plastic sleeve. If I wait until the battery in the bike dies, will I shorten the life of the new battery if I don't add the acid?
A: Your new battery can wait. Before the advent of maintenance-free batteries, all were shipped dry and would keep almost indefinitely on the storage shelf of the shop or service station. During installation, the cells would be filled with acid and the battery would be charged.
Rebuilt sensor will do
Q: I'm going to be in the market for new tires soon. In the past, dealers have suggested replacing or rebuilding the tire pressure monitors (TPM). I have replaced them. Do you recommend replacing them, or rebuilding them?
A: Unless there is a problem with the TPM sensor, you need not replace it. But with age, the rubber seal might deteriorate, and the retaining nut can corrode. These parts are replaced during the rebuild and are worth the money.
A sticky problem
Q: A wheel that hasn't been removed for a long time can stick to a hub. I once had to get a tow for tire service that I could have otherwise performed myself. Is there a treatment that can be applied to prevent the sticking?
A: I use anti-seize compound. A thin schmear around the edge of the wheel and where it contacts the hub will do the trick.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician. His writing has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to firstname.lastname@example.org.