There's a new twist to the fuel shortage in Venezuela. The limited fuel that is available is of such low quality that it's causing catastrophic engine damages to a number of vehicles. And good luck finding the parts you need to repair this damage.
I love vehicles, well, most of them. I particularly love motorcycles, and maybe some classic cars over other old iron.
I have always felt an affinity with them. It has been a love-hate relationship: I have taken excellent care of my vehicles, and I have hated their guts more than once. Like the time I was left stranded without ANY warning nor apparent reason. However, on other occasions the car (or bike) resisted failure bravely until I was safe at home.
I am NOT happy about what has been happening to my beloved vehicles.
What is happening to the automobiles in Venezuela?
It never occurred to me one of the possible effects of the prolonged Venezuelan collapse would be the destruction of my beloved engines. Those fellow bikers who have pampered their hogs and cruisers for decades will understand my concern. My bike was 11 years old and less than 20,000 km when I bought it, and she was always stored inside.
I used a special treatment for engines to reduce friction and prolong life. It's a good idea to do anything you can for your engines (gasoline engines) to run more smoothly in the Venezuelan heat.
Currently, additives in regular fuels, normally not in Venezuela's fuel, are being used. They are needed to stabilize the gasoline and avoid it being too corrosive and volatile, among the modifying of other properties like surface tension. Our gasoline formulas, adapted to our country, remain without evaporating for years if properly sealed. The crappy gasoline sold by Iran has an extremely high evaporation rate. People have reported evaporation as high as a half tank in less than a week.
"Fuel" produced by the refineries is proven to be corrosive, and it's damaging crucial internal components like pumps and tank level gauges. (I prefer carburetors over fuel injection for this very reason.) Imported gasoline has anti-freeze adequate for Iran. Something unnecessary in Venezuela, unless you go to overnight in Los Andes, and generally, temperatures there are not low enough to freeze gasoline.
Severe fires because of the high volatility of this low-quality fuel have occurred. It generates enormous clouds in inadequate spaces where it's being stored, like basement parking lots in city buildings. And, brings with it the expected consequences of fire and destruction. Many people in Venezuela use only 4 or 5 liters of gasoline then take the remaining out of the tank to sell it to someone else to make ends meet.
Just imagine spending three days in a gasoline station for 15 liters of fuel, and now your car engine is exceptionally damaged? Come on. No one deserves that!
It's a real tragedy if you ask me. Most of our car population is 12 to 15 years old and older. There were not many new models after 2012, the year the apocalypse unchained. Old engines can last with the addition of treatment (I'm still researching this), but more modern engines suffer a lot.