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Thursday 19th January 2006

Wrong Fuel

Petrol/diesel mix ups becoming more common


More and more owners are putting the wrong fuel in their cars as the prevalence of diesel increases.

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Last year around 120,000 UK drivers suffered the embarrassment of calling out a breakdown service after filling up their cars with the wrong type of fuel.

The cost of draining the bad fuel and then the repairs - especially for cars with catalytic converters - can be anything from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds.

In fact it is happening on average around 400 times a day in Britain, with each mistake costing up to £6,500 to fix.

Breakdown service Autonational Rescue reckon that it's too easy to do.

"It's so easily done. If you're running around in someone else's car or a fleet car from work then the likelihood of your making a mistake at the pumps increases significantly," says Autonational's marketing manager Ronan Hart.

Diesel pumps at petrol stations are often unhelpfully positioned right next to the petrol pumps, or simply coloured slightly differently, so drivers can easily be mislead on the filling station forecourt.

There are however some products on the market which help to prevent misfuelling, the cheapest of which attaches to the inside of your fuel flap.

They can also remind you that your car runs on diesel with an audible warning, so that even if you are running on "auto pilot" yourself, you will be unlikely to fill up with the wrong fuel.

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So what happens when you put the wrong fuel in your car?

Petrol wrecks a diesel engine lubrication process, and is particularly damaging to its costly, high-pressure pump, fuel injection system and filters.

So if you know you've made the classic mistake, don't start the engine just seek professional advice straight away.

If you have already started the engine and driven off, then you may get half a mile or so down the road before your car gives up the ghost on you.

The next step would be to call your breakdown service, or a local garage if you don't belong to one.

They won't drain the fuel on the spot but can arrange to take the car to your dealer, and if you are especially lucky, they will be able to drain the tank and clean the hoses, purge the fuel from pumps and replace the filter.

If you are not so lucky, the job will be considerably bigger (in the case of executive cars it can mean a replacement engine at a cost of up to £12,000) and then it's a case of contacting your insurance company, fingers crossed, to see if you are covered.

In principle that kind of accidental damage can be covered by comprehensive insurance, says the Association of British Insurance, but it is well worth checking your own policy as very often they are specifically excluded from motor policies, especially third party-only.

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MatthewTamea

Original Poster:

44 posts

128 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all

<They won't drain the fuel on the spot but can arrange to take the car to your dealer, and if you are especially lucky, they will be able to drain the tank and clean the hoses, purge the fuel from pumps and replace the filter.>

My dad managed this once using a hired van and the AA (or was it the RAC) towed him to a "discrete location" and emptied the fuel out all over the floor!!!

vetteheadracer

8,188 posts

133 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
This is particularly easy now at BP stations as the BP Ultimate Diesel and BP Ultimate Unleaded seem to have the same colour surround for the pumps!

mk1fan

4,214 posts

105 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
I've never understood this. It may be a mild form of OCD (!) but when I fill up any car I say to myself 'Right, I need regular unleaded.', or which ever fuel is needed.

It is a sad state of affairs that people are so rushed that they can't spend 4 seconds ensuring they use the right stuff.

And the arguement that the pump heads look similar still doesn't (imoho) wash with me as I just double check to make sure I had the right one. It's sheer laziness and they deserve to be punished! Flog 'em I say. Strapped to the AA van on the side of the road.

In the good old days it used to be red, black or green though. That made it easier - unless you were colour blind!. Now they are some beautiful colours adorning our pumps!

Kentish

14,528 posts

114 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
MatthewTamea said:

<They won't drain the fuel on the spot but can arrange to take the car to your dealer, and if you are especially lucky, they will be able to drain the tank and clean the hoses, purge the fuel from pumps and replace the filter.>

My dad managed this once using a hired van and the AA (or was it the RAC) towed him to a "discrete location" and emptied the fuel out all over the floor!!!


I had so much water in my petrol form a filling station that my car wouldn't run after a few miles so I called the AA and the guy very kindly emptied the petrol and water into an area of pebbles in the car park where I work

With fresh petrol and a few turns of the starter I was up and running again.

simes205

1,920 posts

108 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
vetteheadracer said:
This is particularly easy now at BP stations as the BP Ultimate Diesel and BP Ultimate Unleaded seem to have the same colour surround for the pumps!


Yep, true I know someone who filled their TR6 up with diesel from BP, fortunately no damage done.
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Stevorocket

363 posts

99 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
I simply dont beleive the high cost of fixing having the wrong fuel - 6 grand or a new engine for 12 grand - pull the other one! My mates wife has put petrol in a diesel and diesel in a petrol, driven the one mile home - all he had to do was drain the system, top up with a can of the right fuel and off she went (with the air blue behind her).

huge

1,138 posts

164 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
simes205 said:
vetteheadracer said:
This is particularly easy now at BP stations as the BP Ultimate Diesel and BP Ultimate Unleaded seem to have the same colour surround for the pumps!


Yep, true I know someone who filled their TR6 up with diesel from BP, fortunately no damage done.


Thats cos it doesnt normally start anyway !!!.....sorry

nickjm

359 posts

110 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
There's a girl at my work who's boyfriend put £10's worth of unleaded into his diesel x-type, then realised what he'd done and topped it up with diesel.

Suffice to say he now has to pay £3000 to get it fixed.

bunglist

545 posts

110 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
What A Bunch of Dumb Fg Idiots, is it really that difficult picking the correct fuel pump in a petrol station.

If drivers are that oblivious to the world around them, to put diesel in a petrol car and vice versa then they should not be driving a car. Twats

T5-R

434 posts

106 months

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Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
bunglist said:
What A Bunch of Dumb Fg Idiots, is it really that difficult picking the correct fuel pump in a petrol station.

If drivers are that oblivious to the world around them, to put diesel in a petrol car and vice versa then they should not be driving a car. Twats


Harsh....but true

cpas

1,610 posts

120 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
Am I missing something here, or have all petrol cars with cats got a restricted fuel opening so only unleaded (smaller nozzle) can be put in. This applies to all petrol cars from 1992 onwards - ie 14 years! You can't physically get a diesel nozzle in!!!

>> Edited by cpas on Thursday 19th January 14:02

fourmotion

744 posts

100 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
bunglist said:
What A Bunch of Dumb Fg Idiots, is it really that difficult picking the correct fuel pump in a petrol station.

If drivers are that oblivious to the world around them, to put diesel in a petrol car and vice versa then they should not be driving a car. Ts


i have to agree with this (although without the profanities!).

I don't see how it is possible to get the pumps confused. Surely you just look at the name of the fuel on the pump handle and use the appropriate fuel for your car. Even if you've borrowed a car, and don't know whether its diesel or petrol(sound of the engine may give it away!), most cars have a label on the fuel filler cap to indicate what you should be putting in it.

Inexcusable in my book.

nickjm

359 posts

110 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
cpas said:
Am I missing something here, or have all petrol cars with cats got a restricted fuel opening so only unleaded (smaller nozzle) can be put in. This applies to all petrol cars from 1992 onwards - ie 14 years! You can't physically get a diesel nozzle in!!!

>> Edited by cpas on Thursday 19th January 14:02


But you could do it the other way 'round though, put petrol in a diesel.

polarbert

17,242 posts

111 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
nickjm said:
cpas said:
Am I missing something here, or have all petrol cars with cats got a restricted fuel opening so only unleaded (smaller nozzle) can be put in. This applies to all petrol cars from 1992 onwards - ie 14 years! You can't physically get a diesel nozzle in!!!

>> Edited by cpas on Thursday 19th January 14:02


But you could do it the other way 'round though, put petrol in a diesel.



to solve that situation - dont buy a diesel, then you wont have any problems

calum

21 posts

162 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
cpas said:
Am I missing something here, or have all petrol cars with cats got a restricted fuel opening so only unleaded (smaller nozzle) can be put in. This applies to all petrol cars from 1992 onwards - ie 14 years! You can't physically get a diesel nozzle in!!!

>> Edited by cpas on Thursday 19th January 14:02


Right, but the other problem here is the converse: putting petrol in a diesel. That will fit, obviously.

Regardless of whether the clever people think that people who do this deserve what they get, and let's hope it never happens to one of them on a bad day, I would say it's poor engineering practice to design a system where a very simple mistake can cause such a catastrophic failure.

People, even highly trained professionals, make mistakes so systems (both technical and social) should be designed to minimise the risk, and the consequences, of those mistakes.

pdV6

16,439 posts

141 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
nickjm said:
cpas said:
Am I missing something here, or have all petrol cars with cats got a restricted fuel opening so only unleaded (smaller nozzle) can be put in. This applies to all petrol cars from 1992 onwards - ie 14 years! You can't physically get a diesel nozzle in!!!


But you could do it the other way 'round though, put petrol in a diesel.

...which is potentially more costly.

And with the fact that more and more cars are now being supplied with diesel engines and manufacturers go to great lengths to make them as smooth, as quiet and (in many cases) even more powerful than their petrol equivalents, its now easier than ever to "forget" what fuel your car takes, especially if its a hire/loan/pool vehicle.

Haven't Ford just designed a fancy filler system that will "reject" a petrol nozzle in a diesel tank?

calum

21 posts

162 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
polarbert said:
to solve that situation - dont buy a diesel, then you wont have any problems


damn right!

nickjm

359 posts

110 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
calum said:
polarbert said:
to solve that situation - dont buy a diesel, then you wont have any problems


damn right!


Or do what they do in that VW advert, write DIESEL in big letters on your hand.

Jaglover

17,932 posts

115 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
Doing a Srebbe is becoming more and more common

I blame an ageing population

nightmare

4,586 posts

164 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th January 2006 quote quote all
calum said:
Regardless of whether the clever people think that people who do this deserve what they get, and let's hope it never happens to one of them on a bad day, I would say it's poor engineering practice to design a system where a very simple mistake can cause such a catastrophic failure.

People, even highly trained professionals, make mistakes so systems (both technical and social) should be designed to minimise the risk, and the consequences, of those mistakes.


Oh come on!!!! You have to be joking? Why is it always 'someone elses fault' in this country???

I feel sorry for people who make the mistake, but you're either utterly moronic (so shouldnt be driving), blind (so shouldnt be driving) so disinterested in the vehicle that you're in you dont know the fuel (shouldnt be driving) or very very rushed.....and so shouldnt be driving.

poor engineering practice?? do me a favour. If people engaged their brains a bit more often, and didnt think 'someone else has sorted this problem out for me or they should have' then this sort of thing wouldnt happen.

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