We continue our series of wrong fuel myth busting blog postings by talking about how putting the wrong fuel in your car affects your vehicle insurance or warranty. It’s a subject that is very often brought up by our customers and something that we get enquiries from motorists about over the phone every week. The myth that we, unfortunately, have to bust here is as follows:
“My car insurance or warranty will cover the cost of repair work that I had done on my car after putting in the wrong fuel”.
In our experience this is rarely the case, but protecting against accidentally filling up with the wrong fuel is generally not something that motorists think about when applying for insurance in the first instance. It’s also not usually considered when arranging a warranty. The truth of the matter is that wrong fuel emergency victims don’t consider the possibility that it might happen to them and it always comes as a nasty surprise accompanied with the embarrassment and feeling of having done something rather foolish.
Why do motorists put the wrong fuel in their cars in the first place?
Modern life is to truly to blame. All of our lives are filled with deadlines and pressures that mean we can very easily be distracted just for a few moments. Having to stop and then queue to fill up with fuel is an added hassle to your working day and we usually do this at the worst time possible either on our way in to work or on the way home to pick up the kids or finish the work that you didn’t manage to complete at the office. The other huge contributing factor to the ever growing number of wrong fuel cases that we see on a daily basis, is the advancement of modern motoring technology. Diesel cars account for almost 40% of cars on UK roads, they have ultra quiet, smooth engines and many of us who commute a fair distance on a daily basis, have swapped to a diesel car. It’s so easy to forget that you’re driving a diesel when you’ve recently swapped and so many cases that we attend involve motorists who have filled up their diesel car with petrol at the first filling since obtaining the diesel car.
Will insurance or warranty companies cover wrong fuel emergencies?
This is a question that we are frequently asked and many insurance companies are now including wrong fuel cover as standard, but you will need to check your policy. If you have a long running policy and do not tend to check for a cheaper or better policy when your renewal is due, the chances are that your policy may not have been updated to include special wrong fuel cover. With regards to vehicle warranties, the vast majority of new vehicle and retrospective warranties will specify that the warranty is invalid where use of the wrong fuel type is concerned as this is considered to be a vehicle failure caused by human error and not unreasonable component failure. All warranties state that the vehicle must be looked after and serviced at the appropriate manufacturer specified intervals.
Should I inform my insurance or warranty company if I put in the wrong fuel?
This is not advisable. By not informing your insurance or warranty company about a wrong fuel incident, you are not misleading anyone and neither are you being dishonest. The fact is that the wrong fuel can be removed via a fuel drain and fuel system flush process at a low cost and in the vast majority of cases, provided that the problem is dealt with quickly, there will be absolutely no damage done to the vehicle and it will function as normal. Problems only arise if a poor fuel drain job is done or if the wrong fuel incident is not dealt with correctly, i.e. where some motorists put in a small amount of the wrong fuel type and then top up with the correct fuel type and run the vehicle without getting a fuel drain performed on the vehicle.
We have encountered quite a few cases where a motorist has informed the warranty or insurance company and the company has then insisted that expensive repairs are carried out on the vehicle which are almost certainly, completely unnecessary. The company has done this just to cover themselves against any possible claim due to failure of a related component and is somewhat understandable.
If you’re thinking of swapping your petrol car for a diesel car or if you have not updated your insurance policy for a while, please do check to make sure that you are covered in the event of a wrong fuel incident.
Happy motoring!February 13, 2017
Putting the Wrong Fuel into your vehicle is stressful, there’s no question about it. Very often, the motorist who is unfortunate enough to have accidentally put petrol in a diesel vehicle, or vice versa, has not experienced the situation before and dealing with the unknown often leads to incorrect assumptions. A large number of the wrong fuel in car cases that we deal with on a daily basis involve a motorist who has been distracted whilst filling up with fuel and has not noticed their error. They then return to the vehicle after paying for the fuel and then experience one of the following situations:
1) The vehicle engine will not start at all.
2) The engine starts but then very quickly stalls and will not restart.
3) The engine starts and runs for a mile or two but then stalls on the road.
Does Starting The Vehicle With The Wrong Fuel In The Tank Cause Damage To The Engine?
In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this question is no. Many websites advertising fuel drain services state that you should not attempt to start the vehicle. When you first come across such a statement whilst looking for a wrong fuel emergency service, the chances are that it will increase your stress levels significantly. It immediately makes you worry about the effect that putting in the wrong fuel will have on your engine, and the consequences for your bank balance. In actual fact, a fuel drain and fuel system flush through with fresh fuel will cost you less than a good service. Your engine also, certainly won’t mind the flush through as there is always a sludge build up which will be removed. Your car may even end up running better!
Minimising The Wrong Fuel Situation Stress
OK, on to the point of this article. The following steps will help to reduce the stress of your wrong fuel predicament but should always be carried out with safety in mind. Safety is a major part of the job for our engineers. They are fully trained and licensed to handle hazardous chemicals. Removal and transportation of contaminated fuel should only ever be carried out by a professional with the correct equipment.Depending upon your particular situation, we would recommend the following courses of action:
1) Work With The Forecourt Staff – If you’re on the forecourt and you’ve just realised that you’ve accidentally filled up with the wrong fuel type, firstly, let the forecourt staff know what has happened. Obviously, they have a business to run and will need the pump to be free so that other motorists can use it. More often than not they will happily help you to move your vehicle to a safe spot on the forecourt where you can wait for our engineer. If none of the staff are available, don’t be afraid to ask a fellow motorist for assistance, although you should probably choose someone who looks like they could push a car weighing between 1.5 and 2 tonnes! Try to work with the staff, the last thing you need is the added stress of conflict with the forecourt owner or representative.
2) Be Safe If You’ve Broken Down On A Public Road Should your vehicle engine have started after the wrong fuel has been put into it and you’ve subsequently broken down a short distance down the road, think “safety first”. If your vehicle is causing an obstruction for other motorists make sure that your hazard warning lights are switched on so that others know that you’re unable to move the vehicle. Very often, we find that fellow motorists with good hearts will stop and offer assistance to help you move your vehicle to a safer location. There’s nothing more stressful than watching motorists narrowly miss colliding with your car in an effort to get past it.
If it isn’t safe to try to move the vehicle and the obstruction caused is becoming a danger to others, please inform our staff when you call. We can prioritise your case or inform the local police who may be able to reach you more quickly and make the situation safe. Don’t worry about causing an inconvenience, a policeman’s duty is to keep the public safe and they would much rather deal with a road diversion than a road traffic accident.
3) Keep Us Informed Of Your Particular Situation If you are a vulnerable motorist i.e. an elderly motorist or a lone female and you have mistakenly filled up with the wrong fuel either at night or in a remote location, then please inform our staff when you call us. We can prioritise your case and offer safety advice.
4) Help Us To Get To You Quickly When you call Fuel Medic, please try to give us as much information as you can about your situation, your location, your vehicle and how much of the wrong fuel type you have put into the vehicle. If you’re still on the forecourt then you can ask the staff to help you with location and wrong fuel quantity information. If you have broken down on the road and are unfamiliar with your location, ask a passer-by for help. If this is not an option and you have your smartphone with you, then visit our location finder on our wrong fuel emergency sister site to get accurate location information. This information will enable our engineer to find you as quickly as possible and get you back on your way again with minimal delay.
5) DIY Fuel Drains Are A Bad Idea And A False Economy. You Need An Expert. Be very careful about following any advice on the internet that doesn’t come from an expert source. Occasionally, we are called out to cases where the motorist who has put in the wrong fuel has had their vehicle towed home by their breakdown company and has then attempted to remove the contaminated fuel themselves using instructions found on the internet. Please be aware that handling contaminated fuel without a license in a public place is against the law. On private property, great care must be taken to ensure that the fuel is not handled in an enclosed area with no ventilation, it should also not be exposed to heat or electrical sparks. Please always seek expert advice before considering a DIY fuel drain, you will find that the cost of a professional fuel drain will be substantially less than the cost of a DIY kit for the job and the time required. A professional job will also be far more thorough than can be achieved by an amateur and if any contaminated fuel remains in the system then there will be the possibility of consequential damage to the fuel system or fuel injectors.
Help us to help you lower the stress levels of your wrong fuel emergency. Call us as soon as you are safe and able to do so without putting yourself at risk.January 13, 2017
Wrong Fuel Removal – Don’t Try The DIY Approach – Myth 2
As part of our ongoing wrong fuel myth busting series of blog posts, we’re going to look at some of the most terrible wrong fuel removal DIY misinformation that can be found on the internet. There are a frightening number of websites offering advice on how to drain the fuel tank of your vehicle after putting the wrong fuel into it. These DIY wrong fuel removal methods range from being relatively safe and offering lots of safety advice to being outrageously dangerous and potentially life threatening. The common factor in all cases, though, is the fact that even the seemingly safety conscious methods still only offer a partial solution which will, in all likelihood, still result in damage to the vehicle engine over time.
Wrong Fuel Removal Requires Expertise
The hard fact is that removal of the wrong fuel from any vehicle should only be carried out by an expert using the correct equipment specifically meant to carry out this job. The problem is usually concerning petrol that has been mistakenly put into a diesel vehicle. Petrol is an extremely hazardous chemical. The liquid itself and its fumes are highly flammable. It’s also hazardous when it comes into contact with skin and eyes. Carrying out a fuel drain on any vehicle is also governed by the law. Anyone attempting to perform a fuel drain on a vehicle whilst the vehicle is on public property or close to any other member of the public has to be licensed and fully trained to handle hazardous chemicals. They also need their activity to be approved by the Environment Agency. If an individual doesn’t have the correct training and licensing, not only are they putting themselves and members of the public in danger, they are also breaking the law and the potential penalties are severe.
Don’t Take Expensive DIY Wrong Fuel Removal Risks
Our many years of experience in this job have meant that we have been informed of and have witnessed first hand the tragic consequences of people attempting to remove the wrong fuel from a vehicle by following DIY advice in order to try to save themselves a few pounds. The irony in many of these cases has been that the person concerned has gone out and spent money on some tools to attempt to do the job and has ended up spending much more in terms of time and money, than it would have cost them to have the job done properly by a professional.
How DIY Wrong Fuel Removal Can Go Wrong
One case that came to our attention recently involved a very common risk taken, which ended badly but could have been a lot more tragic. The gentleman concerned had recently spent a lot of money on a new car, a diesel Jaguar X Type. Having been used to driving petrol cars previously, on his first trip to the fuel station he accidentally put half a tank of petrol into his car fuel tank on top of a quarter of a tank of diesel. As the fuel station was not too far from his home, he asked a family member to help him tow the car home. He confessed to being too embarrassed to tell anyone what he had done and so he did some internet research to find out how he could perform the wrong fuel removal himself. The method he chose involved using a pump controlled using an electric hand drill. He chose to attempt the wrong fuel removal in his garage so that his neighbours wouldn’t see what he was up to. He did, however, have the presence of mind to dress in safety clothing and put on a mask. The fuel drain was going according to plan until about half way through the process, the build up of petrol fumes in the enclosed space reached a critical level. Anyone who has ever used a hand held power drill will probably have noticed that when the trigger is activated there is an electrical spark visible through the casing vents around the motor. Most people will recognise that electrical sparks and petrol fumes are not a great combination. The resulting explosion threw the gentleman against his garage door which, fortunately, was not locked and was only closed to and so served to slow down his movement. He was also wearing his safety clothing and so was not too badly burnt. He did have to spend the night in hospital but recovered quickly thanks to the fast action of his next door neighbour who rescued him after hearing the explosion. The car did not recover and was scrapped.
This gentleman was extremely lucky. He would almost certainly have died if not for his safety clothing and the fact that his garage door was only closed to and wasn’t latched. It turned out to be a very expensive and painful mistake for him and he informed one of our guys as he thought his story may prevent others from trying to do the same thing in order to save money or hide an embarrassing mistake.
Please do not attempt DIY wrong fuel removal. Asking a professional will, in all likelihood, actually save you money and will certainly save you hassle. As if the risk to your life or your car was not enough, there is also the fact that DIY wrong fuel removal will not do a thorough enough job. Some petrol will inevitably remain in the vehicle fuel system and will end up causing long term damage to the diesel fuel system seals and where there is contact between metal components due to compromised lubrication of the system.December 29, 2016
Wrong Fuel In Diesel Car Myth 1
Over the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at dispelling those wrong fuel in diesel car myths. The internet is a brilliant source of information but not all of it is correct and not all of the advice that you may find is beneficial. We have found many websites and forums offering advice to drivers who have put in the wrong fuel after asking questions about their best course of action. We’re going to ask the same questions, but our advice comes from expert engineers who have been removing the wrong fuel from cars and vans for many years and know their jobs inside out. All of our engineers are trained to be able to deal with modern and older vehicle engines and they have a lot of hands on experience to rely on. So, lets take a look at one of the most popular wrong fuel in diesel car related questions:
The Myth: If I have put some petrol into a diesel engine, is it OK to top up the tank until it contains mostly diesel and then just drive the vehicle until the petrol has been diluted out of the fuel system?
We have seen this question crop up in various slightly differing forms, again and again. The BAD advice also varies, with some people on the internet saying that it’s OK to put 10% to 20% of petrol in a diesel car, as long as you top it up with diesel, and others saying that if it starts and drives with a mixture of petrol and diesel in the tank then it’s fine to drive the vehicle until all the petrol has been used up. The truth is that NO amount of petrol is OK in a diesel motor.
Why is petrol so bad for a diesel fuel system?
Petrol is just about one of the worst substances that you could put into a diesel fuel system. The fuel systems on petrol and diesel engines are designed to operate in totally different ways as petrol and diesel are totally different fuel types. Diesel is much more oily than petrol and has a lubricating characteristic that a diesel fuel system relies upon. Petrol is a solvent with no lubricating qualities. A diesel engine has a much higher compression ratio than a petrol engine and therefore higher temperatures needed for diesel fuel auto ignition. Higher compression ratios mean better thermal efficiency and so, lower fuel consumption. Petrol engines feature much lower compression ratios to prevent fuel auto ignition. When you consider that petrol has been introduced to extremely high temperatures when it is mistakenly put into a diesel engine, you can begin to see why there might be an issue here with wrong fuel in diesel car situations.
What effect does petrol have on a diesel engine?
In a diesel engine fuel system there are several metal components that come into contact with one another. They rely upon the diesel lubrication to prevent damage or heat build up due to friction. If the diesel fuel lubrication is compromised by the introduction of petrol to the system, then friction damage will occur to these components. The heat build up will make them wear out faster and the lack of lubrication will result in tiny particles of metal being worn away from the component surfaces and getting into the fuel flowing through the system. This fuel makes its way to the fuel injectors. The fuel should then be injected into the cylinder block but the injector may either be partially blocked resulting in reduced engine performance, or in the worst case scenario, completely blocked which could mean that the injector is damaged and needs replacing.
How bad is the worst case scenario?
Well, if you own a premium motor such as a Mercedes, BMW or Jaguar, then a wrong fuel in diesel car situation is BAD. Fuel injectors for these brands are expensive, as are most fuel system components. Expect to pay around £300 for each injector in a BMW 520 diesel and then £300 to £400 for labour to change them. Even if you drive something much more modest such as a Ford Focus, you’re still looking at between £200 and £250 per injector plus a day’s labour. In addition to potential injector damage, as petrol is a solvent you are also seriously at risk of damage to the seals in the fuel system components. This could result in the need to replace the fuel pump, filter and fuel lines. If you take your motor to a main dealer to honour the warranty on your vehicle, then you will be hit with a large repair bill. They may even require replacement of the entire engine.
In short, don’t drive your diesel car with any amount of petrol in the fuel system. A low cost fuel drain will put everything right and won’t end up costing you a fortune in the short or long term. Call our expert team to deal with your wrong fuel in diesel car problem and we’ll end up saving you a packet.
Wrong Fuel recovery incidents increase during the Winter months
We always find that we have a really busy period at the start of the year with Wrong Fuel recovery incidents. There are a number of possible causes for this spike in our activity:
- Commuting motorists are under stress as they try to re-focus on work after the Christmas and New Year break.
- The dark mornings, cold weather and difficult driving conditions distract motorists from the re-fuelling activity.
- The on-set of the Winter blues means that motorists are not at their sharpest, especially in the mornings.
- People sometimes buy new vehicles at Christmas whilst car prices are lower as overall car sales tend to lower at this time of year. If they swap from a petrol car to a diesel car then, often, the above factors contribute to potential wrong fuel situations along with their not being used to filling up a car with diesel.
Whatever the reason for your wrong fuel recovery service requirement, we can send out an emergency rapid response engineer to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What if the worst happens and I need a wrong fuel recovery service?
It may seem like it, but it’s not the end of the World. Even if you have started your vehicle and driven it with the wrong fuel in the tank, although you will probably not have driven very far before breaking down! If you’re aware of the wrong fuel recovery industry then you will be less likely to panic, but many people are not and it’s an automatic reaction to a traumatic incident. Hopefully you will be aware of the Fuel Medic or find us on the internet by searching on your smart phone. You can then call one of our experts using our emergency line and pass on some brief details such as your location and the make and model of your car. If it’s especially early in the morning or late at night and you’re a lone female, elderly motorist or in a vulnerable or precarious situation, then we will prioritise your case and get a wrong fuel recovery expert out to you as fast as we can.
What can I do to prevent putting in the wrong fuel?
If it isn’t already too late, there are some things that you can do to prevent your needing a wrong fuel recovery service such as:
- Put a sticker on the inside of the fuel flap or on the tank cap which you unscrew to get the nozzle in, to remind you of which type of fuel you need to fill up with.
- Don’t fill up when you’re in a hurry, plan to refuel after work when the traffic is quieter and you’re not under pressure to either get to work or desperate to get home after a hard day.
- Put a reminder note in the middle of the steering wheel where you can’t miss it and it won’t interfere with your driving. This is particularly useful if the car is new or if it’s a hire car.
This advice may seem a little silly or profound but you may only need to do it once to get a mental note stuck in your head which will mean that you never fill up with the wrong fuel and need a wrong fuel recovery service.December 8, 2015
Removal of Petrol from Diesel Vehicles with Twin Fuel Tanks
This is an issue that we have encountered numerous times over the years. It’s usually a job that we’re called out to where another wrong fuel recovery company has been out to a motorist who has filled up with petrol instead of diesel, and they have supposedly completed the job and then driven off with the money. The motorist drives off down the road only to break down again after a couple of miles. They call the original company who then claim that it’s not their fault.
We know why this happens. It tends to be some of the bigger diesel 4x4s and Vans that fall foul here and it’s because they have twin fuel tanks. They need this kind of fuel system because they tend to use more fuel than a diesel car, being much heavier and much more thirsty. They still need to have a good travelling range on full tanks. But, twin fuel tanks are notoriously difficult to perform a fuel drain on. Moreover, vehicles with twin fuel tanks are not easy to identify. Our engineers have a tremendous amount of experience and they know exactly what to look for if they suspect a vehicle may have twin fuel tanks.
If you know the fuel system set up of your vehicle then it’s useful to pass on the information, if you happen to put in the wrong fuel, when speaking to our operator. All of our mobile wrong fuel removal vehicles are equipped with the right tools to do the job properly and we will never leave a motorist until we are absolutely sure that the job is complete and the vehicle is safe to drive away.
If you are at all unsure whether a job has been done right by another company then you are within your rights to refuse to pay until you are satisfied. If payment is demanded up front, then something is definitely not right and you should turn the company away. Our engineers will explain the costs before doing the job but will only ask for payment once you are 100% happy with the job.November 20, 2015
Petrol in a diesel car – Myths
People react differently in stressful situations and filling up your car or van with the wrong fuel, such as petrol in a diesel car, is definitely stressful. It usually happens at the most impossibly inconvenient time; when you’re late getting the kids to school or getting to work, or just before you have to get off on a long journey down the motorway. Many motorists are unaware that the wrong fuel recovery industry even exists as it tends to be the kind of thing you do once and are then forever checking yourself when filling up to make sure that you don’t put in the wrong fuel again.
The first thing that tends to happen in a petrol in a diesel car situation is that the motorist tries to recall any information about fuel or removing the wrong fuel from a vehicle. Many will do an internet search for related information, some may phone a friend. Whilst many will find a good solution, such as calling out the Fuel Medic team, others may take a different approach and try to resolve the situation themselves. This article is offered as a sanity check for those who want to attempt to solve a wrong fuel problem themselves. Please take heed of the following information, it comes from years of experience within the wrong fuel recovery industry and may help you avoid making a bad situation much worse.
Petrol in a diesel car Myth 1: I’ve only put in a small amount of petrol, if I fill up with diesel everything will be fine
Petrol is a solvent and it does not have the lubricating qualities of diesel. If you have any amount of petrol in your vehicle fuel tank, even if it’s mixed with diesel, the lubrication of components within the vehicle fuel system will be compromised. Wear will occur where there is metal to metal contact between components. Tiny metal particles will make their way to the fuel injectors. You may be lucky and this may not affect your engine depending upon how much “swarf” is created. The other possibility is that the injectors become blocked and you have to get them replaced. This is an expensive job, do you really want to risk it?
Petrol in a diesel car Myth 2: Petrol is lighter than diesel and so it floats on top of any diesel that is already in my tank. I’ll just get a hand pump and take out the top few litres from the tank.
This simply isn’t true I’m afraid. The petrol and diesel will mix in your vehicle fuel tank especially if the vehicle has been in motion. Even if by some miracle you manage to get the majority of the petrol out of your diesel vehicle fuel tank, there will be some residual petrol. This will in all likelihood damage your vehicle engine in the long term. See you previous myth for details.
Petrol in a diesel car Myth 3: My car is new, a little of the wrong fuel type will be OK because a modern system will compensate for any lack of lubrication.
We’ve included this one because it’s amazingly common and we’ve heard it no end of times. In fact, the opposite is true, the more sophisticated the fuel system and associated electronics, the more likely it is that damage will occur resulting in big repair bills and bills for resetting of the system ECU.
Petrol in a diesel car Myth 4: I can do this myself with an electric or hand pump and a bit of rubber hose.
Many of the jobs we attend are retrospective jobs where the motorist has attempted to do the wrong fuel removal job themselves and has ended up in a pickle. The truth is, if they’d called the Fuel Medic in the first place then it would have been cheaper than buying the fuel pump, getting the vehicle towed home and spending all that time messing about. We have state of the art equipment that will completely remove all trace of the wrong fuel from your vehicle fuel system. It is very expensive but is used all day everyday, does a thorough and complete job and is used by experts in wrong fuel removal.
Petrol in a diesel car Myth 5: I can just get the repair work done and then I’ll claim on my insurance or vehicle warranty.
Again, we’ve heard this one a lot and have attended many jobs where a poor job has been made by a main dealer in attempting to resolve the issue. The motorist has been unable to claim on their insurance or warranty because the small print says that they’re not covered which is very often the case with most policies. Our wrong fuel engineers are experts with many years of experience and they can get the job done properly and far cheaper than your main dealer or local mechanic or even your roadside recovery company.
Please take heed of the information above. If you need the wrong fuel removed from your car or van. Call in an expert, the Fuel Medics on 08456 447 991.November 10, 2015
Quite often we get calls from motorists who ask the question, “How do I get petrol out of my diesel car?” More often than not, it’s because motorists are very worried about the cost of removing petrol from a diesel engined vehicle when they have accidentally filled up with the wrong fuel type. These calls are usually made after the motorist has called their breakdown company or a local towing company, to come and tow their vehicle off the forecourt and back to their home, often at quite a high cost. They are then concerned about paying out even more money to fix their wrong fuel problem. Our experts explain to these callers that trying to do the job themselves is most definitely a false economy as attempting such a difficult task can result in huge repair bills for replacement fuel system parts or even new engines.
Specialist Equipment is Vital
Our engineers frequently turn up at motorists houses after a call for help, to find that the caller has attempted to remove the wrong fuel from the vehicle fuel tank using a hand pump or an electric pump with a rubber hose attached. Here are a few reasons why this is not a sensible approach:
- Petrol is a highly flammable, very dangerous chemical. Incorrect handling can cause serious injury or death.
- A hand or electric pump will not remove all of the petrol from the vehicle tank and fuel system.
- It is vital to flush the fuel system through with fresh fuel of the correct type after draining. This can only be done with expensive, specialist equipment.
- Residual fuel of the wrong type will be left in the vehicle fuel system which will damage the engine over time.
Our engineers have been trained to use specially designed fuel pumps and system flush equipment which ensures that all traces of the wrong fuel type are removed from the vehicle and its fuel system and that none of the sensitive, finely adjusted fuel system components are damaged or compromised in any way. This knowledge only comes from intensive training and years of experience.
Ask An Expert
To put the cost of using an expert to do a fuel drain on your car into perspective, it would probably only cost you an extra few hours in work. Attempting it yourself would probably cost you many wasted hours in getting the car home, on top of the towing cost, then there’s the cost for a hand or electric fuel pump and a length of hose. Add to this some more wasted hours in trying to do the job whilst putting your health at serious risk when handling the petrol, time taken in finding out about how to dispose of contaminated fuel and then doing it, and suddenly the cost of having a professional, reliable job done looks like peanuts.
In short, wrong fuel removal is a job that needs to be done by an experienced professional with the proper equipment. Don’t put yourself or your vehicle at risk. Talk to the Fuel Medic today.October 20, 2015
Help! I’ve put petrol in a diesel engine, what will happen to it?
What happens to your vehicle engine very much depends upon the amount of petrol that you’ve put in compared to the amount of diesel that may already be in the tank. Our wrong fuel engineers have come across all of the different scenarios involving petrol in a diesel engine, many times.
Very little or no diesel in the tank – If your vehicle has virtually no diesel in the tank and you inadvertently fill it up with petrol, when the engine is first started there will probably be enough residual diesel in the fuel system to get the engine going but the petrol will very quickly be drawn in from the tank and this will cause the engine to begin running roughly until it stalls altogether and won’t restart.
Half diesel, half petrol – Many motorists who fall foul of the petrol in a diesel engine mistake have stopped for a top up before a long journey. If you have a mixture of petrol and diesel in your fuel tank and the ratio is about fifty/fifty then, depending upon the vehicle and the type of engine, it may well run for a long while. In all likelihood it will run roughly though, and if you drive the vehicle regularly then you will notice something amiss.
A few litres of petrol in with mostly diesel – This is potentially the worst petrol in a diesel engine scenario over the long term. If you’ve just topped up with a few litres of petrol and haven’t realised your mistake, then the vehicle engine will most probably start and run fine. It may be a little rough but unless you know the car very well indeed, you may not even notice. This means that the petrol sits in the vehicle fuel system diluting the diesel fuel lubrication and this can lead to serious damage to fuel system components.
Why is petrol in a diesel engine such a problem?
The problem is quite straight forward. Diesel fuel acts as a lubricant for the fuel system components in a diesel engine. Petrol is a solvent with no lubricating properties. If the diesel fuel lubrication properties are compromised, then, where there is metal to metal contact between components in the diesel engine fuel system, excess friction will cause the components to wear quickly. This can lead to a build up of very small metal particles (swarf) in the fuel and if enough of these get into the engine injectors, it can spell disaster for the engine. There is another issue with petrol in a diesel engine and this is the solvent characteristic of petrol. If petrol is allowed to run through the vehicle fuel system for any length of time, the internal seals may be damaged by the solvent effect. Again, this can lead to a build up of tiny rubber particles which will also affect the engine injectors if they get through the fuel system.
Will I need a new engine?
It’s highly unlikely that you will need a new engine, you may need the engine injectors cleaned or some of the fuel system components changed. In some rare cases you may need replacement engine injectors and, depending upon the make of the vehicle, this can be expensive.
What do I do if I’ve realised that I’ve put petrol in a diesel engine?
If you haven’t already, don’t start the engine. Also, on some vehicles, even locking or unlocking the doors can prime the fuel pump and draw in a little of the wrong fuel type. It can be an awful shock when it suddenly dawns on you that you’ve filled up with the wrong fuel. We know how stressful it can be when you’re in a hurry to get somewhere or if you’re stranded in an unfamiliar place or at night. This is why we operate within a widespread network of professional engineers. We can get an expert to you, fast and they’ll arrive with the equipment needed, depending upon your situation. If you’re still on the fuel station forecourt or broken down in the middle of a busy main road, our engineer will act fast to make sure that you and your vehicle are safe. Petrol in a diesel engine is very unlikely to be a really serious problem as long as you get the wrong fuel type removed as soon as you can by one of our professional engineers.September 23, 2015
It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes one of our wrong fuel engineers gets called out to remove the right fuel! On this occasion, our engineer was attending a truck near a service station just off the M5 motorway. The driver had filled up with 600 litres of diesel fuel which was the vehicle tank capacity. After driving away down the slip road back onto the motorway, to his horror the driver then noticed that he had a fuel leak and he was losing diesel onto the road. He pulled over onto the hard shoulder and put a call in to his boss, who then called out the Fuel Medic to assist. It was obviously way too dangerous to drive the vehicle any further so our wrong fuel specialist hastily got himself onto the motorway and found the stricken truck. After some investigation into the problem, our man discovered that the vehicle fuel tank had ruptured which is an extremely rare occurrence as truck fuel tanks are heavily reinforced to carry the huge weight of the fuel; full tanks on big trucks means an extra half a ton of weight to the vehicle!
Our engineer quickly got to work draining the fuel from the truck but even though our mobile unit tank capacity is large, it wasn’t large enough so he needed to make 2 trips back to base to empty the evacuation unit tank. With the job sorted, the truck could then be towed away for repair work and the clean up work began on the spilled fuel to stop it getting onto the motorway lane and causing a skid hazard.
The boss of the haulage firm concerned was able to call out one of our wrong fuel engineers to assist with the situation as they all have authorisation from the Environment Agency and have been fully trained (on an ongoing basis) to handle hazardous chemicals such as diesel. A diesel spillage such as this can be additionally dangerous because when it rains, the diesel can be spread onto the motorway with the water. This makes the road surface even more slippery than normal due to the oil content of the diesel fuel. This makes driving conditions more hazardous than normal, particularly in wet weather.