Wrong Fuel Drain – Terrible Advice Alert!

As a responsible business working in the wrong fuel emergency industry, we felt that we had to bring attention to a very recent case that we attended with some extremely serious safety concerns. We were contacted by a customer who had found some advice on the internet detailing how to perform a fuel drain on a vehicle which has the wrong fuel in the tank. Sure enough, when we did the search for ourselves we found the information on a car rental website for a major operator in the UK. To say that we were amazed doesn’t quite cover it, even though the advice given would be incredibly difficult for even a qualified mechanic to make sense of, there were some aspects of the article that we found to be of great concern. As part of the procedure, the reader was advised to fill a bottle with petrol and then make a small hole in it. The customer concerned had started to attempt to follow these instructions after filling up a Toyota Rav4 diesel with petrol but had quickly realised that maybe “do it yourself” wasn’t the best approach after being overcome by the petrol fumes.

The article concerned made absolutely no mention of vital safety precautions which have to be taken when performing a fuel drain on a vehicle. It is common knowledge that petrol is a dangerous chemical. It is highly flammable, potentially damaging if it comes into contact with your bare skin and its fumes can be overwhelming. You should never handle petrol without ensuring that there is no possibility for the fuel to leak out of a container or pipe, especially in the vicinity of a potentially hot vehicle engine. Our engineers always ensure that the contaminated fuel removed from a vehicle during a fuel drain is isolated into a drainage pump pipeline and safely contained in a certified stainless steel tank. We don’t just carry out the job in this fashion because we are being overcautious, we do this because it’s the law and our engineers could be in serious trouble if they expose a customer to any sort of a health risk related to this activity.

We would always stress that motorists should exercise extreme caution when attempting any mechanical operation on their vehicle involving the fuel system. Always consult an expert beforehand and if you are at all unsure about exactly what you are doing please don’t try this at home! We have attended jobs in the past where customers have had very lucky escapes after following bad advice and have also heard of cases with tragic outcomes.
Call the Wrong Fuel Emergency team even if all you need is some sound advice. Be safe!

Does Your Car Insurance Cover You For A Wrong Fuel Emergency?

As Wrong Fuel Emergencies become more and more common, car insurance companies are finding themselves under pressure to make it clear to their customers whether or not they are covered for potentially expensive repair work. As we have pointed out no end of times on this website, the chances of a wrong fuel incident causing any serious damage to your engine or vehicle fuel system are very low. Even if the engine has been started with the wrong fuel in the tank, a fuel drain and system flush with fresh fuel will solve the problem in 99% of cases. However, on certain vehicles, particularly modern vehicles with their extremely sophisticated and sensitive electronic engine management systems there is a potential for repair work to be necessary, and it can be expensive. Premium vehicles such as BMWs, Mercedes or Jaguars are notoriously much more expensive to repair than regular family saloons or hatchbacks and also tend to have more extensive and sophisticated electronic components. Problems related to a wrong fuel incident are more usually experienced where a diesel engine has been running with an amount of unleaded petrol in it for a relatively long period of time, usually a few days or over a few weeks depending upon the normal mileage the car would cover. Motorists have read somewhere or taken bad advice from someone, that it’s OK to drive a vehicle if you have put in a little of the wrong fuel type into your tank and then top up with the correct fuel type. This terrible advice is what results in damage occurring to the engine and can lead to damage to or failure of, the fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel injectors and even valves and valve seats. Even on a regular vehicle, this can mean serious repair bills.

Motorists in this position often find that their insurance companies either specify in the small print that they do not cover wrong fuel related damage to the vehicle or they do not mention it at all and leave the customer in a difficult position about what they should say to their insurer and how to deal with the problem. Our advice would be to check with the insurer before taking the policy out whether you would be covered in the event of a wrong fuel incident. Unfortunately, it tends not to be something that motorists give much thought to when looking for an insurance policy as no-one wants to believe that they would fall victim to a wrong fuel disaster. Our hectic modern lives and ultra-refined diesel engined vehicles mean that whilst everyone likes to think they are paying full attention 100% of the time, the fact is that we just aren’t and wrong fuel situations do occur regularly.

Many car insurance companies are fully aware of this situation but it’s very difficult for an insurance inspector to ascertain whether a vehicle has suffered damage due to a motorist following some bad advice or whether a genuine mistake has been made and remedial action has been taken immediately to minimise the damage risk. If an insurance company did cover wrong fuel incidents then they would more than likely request an engineering report before considering whether the motorist has made a mistake and acted immediately to rectify it, or whether they have effectively caused the damage by running the vehicle long term with the wrong fuel contaminating the fuel system. If the report comes back with the latter as a conclusion then the motorist may be facing an even bigger bill for the report work as well as the necessary repairs.

Please do take the time to be aware of exactly how, and even if, your insurer covers wrong fuel incidents, especially if you are changing from a petrol vehicle to a diesel vehicle.

Wrong Fuel Emergency Safety Advice

As UK roads get more and more crowded, we find that our Wrong Fuel Emergency service is becoming busier and busier. We already have dozens of mobile units on the road providing a 24 hour fuel drain service all over the UK but demand does not seem to be diminishing in any way. What we have also noticed is the increase in the number of hazardous situations that victims of accidental mis-fuelling are finding themselves in and this seems, at least in part, to be due to increasing traffic volumes. In the majority of cases, our customers have filled up their vehicles with the wrong fuel type and have not noticed until leaving the fuel station forecourt and subsequently finding themselves stranded in the middle of a main road. This type of wrong fuel emergency case always seems to occur at the worst possible times of day; rush hour in the morning and evening. Cue total chaos as traffic quickly builds up behind the stricken vehicle and motorists start to take foolish risks in an attempt to get past the vehicle. When our customers place a call to us during heavy traffic times, one of the first questions they are asked will be about the traffic situation around their vehicle so that our operative can take appropriate action.

In the first instance, we will prioritise cases where a vehicle is causing a major obstruction and we’ll get one of our expert wrong fuel engineers out to the scene as quickly as possible, approaching from the opposite direction to the traffic build up so as to avoid delay. In many cases, it is necessary to inform the local police station so that they are aware of the problem and can dispatch a traffic control officer if one is available. We will then offer the following safety advice to the caller:

  • If safe to do so, can the vehicle be manually moved to a safer location where it isn’t causing as much of an obstruction or restricting access to property? This should only be done with assistance from either an accompanying passenger or a fellow motorist.
  • Switch on your hazard warning lights so that fellow motorists know that your vehicle is immobile
  • If your vehicle has a red hazard warning triangle that can be erected behind the vehicle and once more, only if safe to do so, erect the triangle about a car’s length behind your vehicle. The triangle should not be used if your vehicle is on the hard shoulder of a motorway.
  • Remain in your vehicle if you are not on the motorway hard shoulder so that our wrong fuel engineer can assist immediately upon their arrival or so that you can assist an attending police officer. If you are on the motorway hard shoulder then you should exit the vehicle and stand well clear of it on the grass verge
  • If your vehicle has stalled on a busy, national speed limit road or in a motorway lane where it is a serious danger to other motorists and it is too dangerous or you are unable to move it manually, then you should call 999 and ask for the police to report the incident.

We take customer safety very seriously and will always aim to offer the very best advice depending upon your wrong fuel situation. If you would like to speak to a member of our expert wrong fuel team, just pick up the phone and dial 0345 302 2980.

Wrong Fuel Myths Busted

Wrong Fuel Myths Busted

There are many myths associated with the wrong fuel industry and all require busting so that unsuspecting motorists don’t get fooled into taking unnecessary risks after putting the wrong fuel into a vehicle. Just because a friend or colleague has read about how to deal with a wrong fuel issue on the internet or has been speaking to a bloke down the pub about it, we can all appreciate that it doesn’t make them an expert. Your best bet is to speak to a genuine expert who deals with wrong fuel situations day in and day out on all manner of vehicles.

Here are some myth gems that we have encountered:

Petrol floats on diesel so you only have to remove the petrol portion of the fuel tank content

This is not correct, petrol and diesel will mix, the diesel will be diluted and won’t have the level of lubricating quality that it normally has. Don’t believe that you can just take out the top 20 litres of fuel from the tank and you’ll be fine because the residual petrol will mean long term damage to the fuel system components and your vehicle will suffer.

If you’ve just put in a small amount of petrol, top up with diesel and you’ll be OK

Again, this is not true for the reasons mentioned above. Diesel is a lubricant, there are some intricate and sensitive working parts in your vehicle fuel system where there is metal to metal contact. The diesel is the only lubricant in the system and if you dilute it with any amount of petrol then wear will occur and long term damage and problems will materialise at some point further down the line.

My car is new, so if it’s modern then I won’t have a problem if I put in a little of the wrong fuel type

Unfortunately, the opposite is true here. The newer your vehicle then the more sensitive and intricate the working parts in the fuel system are. If you try to drive the vehicle with any amount of petrol in the tank then irreparable damage is highly likely to occur, leaving you with a huge repair bill. Don’t take the risk.

If I get an electric pump I can pump the fuel out myself, everything will be just fine and I won’t have to pay

Removing contaminated fuel should never be done by someone who is not experienced and who doesn’t hold a licence to do so issued by the Environment Agency. Fuel is a dangerous, highly flammable substance and should be handled with great care. Besides, pumping the fuel out yourself will only get so much out, there will be some petrol left in there. Also, if the vehicle has been started then there will be petrol in the fuel system as well as the tank. A thorough, professional fuel system flush is the only way to be sure that all traces of petrol are removed from the system. Don’t do it yourself folks, there will be problems down the line and it can also be a messy, smelly and dangerous job without the correct equipment.

I’ll just get the dealer to carry out a fuel system replacement and claim on the insurance or the vehicle warranty

Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security here, check your insurance policy or warranty covers the introduction of wrong fuel into the vehicle fuel system and check the terms and conditions associated with this situation before you commit to anything more costly than a simple fuel drain.

An Unusual Wrong Fuel Removal Job – The Road Roller

Thank heavens that we have resourceful and adaptable engineers working for us, who can think on their feet and come up with solutions! We had a call last week from a construction site manager who was in a bit of a bind. He was already a week behind schedule on his build and then one of his less experienced site workers had managed to put water into the diesel fuel tank of a road roller. We sent our chief engineer out to assess the situation complete with as much equipment as possible that we could anticipate being useful to him.

He was there within 30 minutes and met up with the foreman who showed him the road roller with about 50 litres of water mixed with 50 litres of diesel. These vehicles have 280 litre fuel tanks so it wasn’t even half full but it turned out to be easy enough for our wrong fuel engineer to gain access the the tank. He figured out how to best extract the contaminated diesel as safely as possible and quickly had the fuel drain under way. With the diesel and water mix removed, our engineer was then able to understand how to flush the fuel system to remove all traces of water from the tank and system before replacing it with as much diesel as he could fit on the mobile unit.

The road roller was started up and our engineer got to have a test drive. The foreman paid him twice his fee as a thank you for sorting out the headache and getting them back to work so quickly!

So, if you have any construction vehicles with a wrong fuel recovery requirement – you know where to come.

Wrong Fuel in Sports Cars and Classics

Wrong Fuel in Sports Cars and Classics

This doesn’t appear to be as unusual a situation as you might imagine, we regularly get calls from customers who have accidentally put the wrong fuel into either a classic car or an exotic sports car. This type of job always tends to be a little sensitive because the vehicle owners are usually very stressed, the reason being that the vehicle is either worth a whole lot of money or they are very attached to it.

We’ll relate a couple of tales about recent jobs here because they may come in handy for other motorists who may be in the same situation. A few months back we attended a job for a gentleman in Coventry who had put regular unleaded fuel into a Lamborghini Murcielago. The vehicle had been hired from a prestige car hire firm and the customer was intending to impress his new girlfriend by taking her away for the weekend in the Lamborghini. Having driven the car back from the hire company it was, of course, pretty much running on empty so the customer took it to his nearest fuel station and filled up with unleaded fuel. On his short journey back home, he found it was running a little roughly compared to how it had been running prior to filling up. The customer started thinking about the fuel that he’d just put in and then recalled the hire company representative mentioning that the car should only be filled up with higher octane super/premium unleaded fuel. He also discovered a clause in his hire contract stating that only the super/premium unleaded fuel should be used. Thankfully, the customer called us before putting a call into the hire company which could have made things very complicated for him. Our Engineer went out to his house and removed the 80 litres of unleaded fuel from the Lamborghini (very carefully we might add!) and transferred it to his other two every day motors. The replacement premium unleaded fuel was added to the Lamborghini tank and a test drive showed that we were back in business with no sign of any rough running. This resulted in one extremely relieved and ever so thankful customer who even presented the attending engineer with a bottle of champagne!

The second job to note was performed after we received a call from a gentleman in Birmingham who was the proud owner of an Austin Healey 3000 MK1 BT7 (1960) in perfect condition and with only 32000 miles on the engine from new. The car was worth in excess of £40,000 and had had hundreds of hours of restoration work carried out on it. The customer’s son had unfortunately put 5 gallons of diesel in the car and had tried to drive it. Our engineer arrived with the customer to find out more about the situation. It turned out that the fuel had been stored in the customers garage in a black 5 gallon tank with a green 5 gallon tank next to it with the correct fuel in it. The wrong fuel type had been accidentally added to the Austin Healey by the customer’s son who got confused with the container colours. The car had been driven 200 yards down the road before displaying some alarming running issues and was then returned to the customer’s driveway. The customer was understandably upset as the car represented a significant portion of his life spent lovingly repairing the car to its original, as new condition. The car had also won many awards at various classic car shows. Our engineer performed the fuel drain on the vehicle and flushed all of the residual diesel out of the fuel system with the correct fuel type including an additive for the old engine. On restart the car was running well once more and another happy customer subjected our engineer to an out-pouring of profuse thanks! He was also seen cuffing his son on the back of the head whilst calling him a “plank”.

If you have filled up your super car or your old classic with the wrong fuel, we’ll sort the problem in a flash. Just give the Wrong Fuel Recovery Company a quick call.

Call In The Wrong Fuel Professionals – Don’t Get Ripped Off

 
Call In The Wrong Fuel Professionals – Don’t Get Ripped Off

Many of the vehicles that our wrong fuel engineers are called out to are new. You see, the situation usually arises in the first place because a motorist has bought a new diesel vehicle whereas they have been previously used to driving a petrol vehicle. They pull up at the fuel station and go into autopilot when filling up. For some, it dawns on them what has happened half way through filling up and some don’t notice until they’ve driven half way up the road and the vehicle has stalled. Now, those with new vehicles tend to immediately jump to the conclusion that as the vehicle is under warranty, they will have to get their main dealer to fix the problem and this is very often one of the first questions that our operator is asked when taking an emergency call. We’ve heard some disturbing stories along these lines, including that of a VW Passat owner who filled up a diesel with unleaded petrol and then tried to drive the car. When it broke down a short distance from the fuel station, the driver called a local tow truck company who sent out a flat-bed to transport the car to the nearest main dealer. The flat-bed transport was not cheap and when the vehicle was presented to the main dealer, their mechanic told the driver that in order to maintain the vehicle warranty the fuel system and all of its components would have to be replaced! The cost was in the thousands of pounds and the driver was a bit shocked to say the least.

Thankfully, the driver had the foresight to call the Wrong Fuel Recovery Company for a second opinion before committing to the repair work as advised by the main dealer. Our engineers are experts in removing the wrong fuel from any vehicle and carry out the procedure many times every day so they’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to the effect that putting petrol into a diesel car has on the engine and fuel system. We advised the driver to get the main dealer to prepare the car to be transported back to the driver’s home. Our engineer arrived and towed the vehicle away. It had a full tank of petrol but our wrong fuel engineer was able to quickly drain the fuel tank, flush the fuel system through with fresh diesel and then put in half a tank of diesel to test the car. He started the vehicle and attached his diagnostics equipment to check for error messages. None were found. The vehicle ran smoothly with no adverse effects. The transportation and fuel drain were performed at a fraction of the cost of the repair work that the main dealer had advised the driver to have carried out. It was a lucky escape for the driver.

This kind of situation occurs all the time and 25% of our work is either fixing the blunders of the cowboy element at work within the industry, or carrying out fuel drains at driver’s homes when they have been scared half to death by huge estimates from main dealers or local mechanics for repair work that may not be necessary at all.

If you’ve put the wrong fuel into your vehicle, please don’t get duped. Nobody knows the wrong fuel industry like our engineers as they are specialists who deal with these situations day in and day out. Put in a call to the Wrong Fuel Recovery Company even if it’s just for advice. Nobody likes getting ripped off and we’re doing our best to try and stop it happening.

Wrong Fuel Warning – Make Sure Your Engineer Uses The Correct Equipment

Wrong Fuel Warning – Make Sure Your Engineer Uses The Correct Equipment

If we could have a tenner for every time we’ve heard a tale of woe about the cowboy element at work within our industry we’d be very rich. It is essential that your wrong fuel engineer uses the correct gear when working on your vehicle. After all, your vehicle may very well have been a significant investment for you as they are for most of us, so you want that vehicle to receive the very best care and attention when something goes wrong to ensure that it has a long life and serves you well.

All of the engineers working for the Wrong Fuel Recovery Company have mobile emergency response units that are equipped with the very latest state of the art equipment including all safety gear required to ensure maximum care for you, other road users and your vehicle during the fuel drain procedure. Our fuel drain equipment has the following specification:

  • A high-tech suction pump that can remove contaminated fuel at a rate of 25ltr/min
  • A discharge pump capable of operating at up to 40ltr/min
  • A tank capacity of 250 ltrs so that we can drain 10 to 12 cars before needing to empty at base
  • Flow meters which display the fuel recovery and discharge rate
  • a roof vent with an ATEX flame arrester to conform to safety standards
  • A comprehensive spill kit to cover the unlikely event of a fuel spill
  • Our engineers are fully trained specialists in wrong fuel removal and are all widely experienced. To reflect this, they all carry an SPA Passport which are only issued upon completion of job specific training courses with regular training updates to keep pace with the modern automotive industry development.

    Also, our representatives are courteous, patient and sympathetic. They are trained to deal with stressed, anxious customers who are enduring a frustrating and worrying experience. They are also uniformed and respectable.

    If you call out another company and they turn up in a battered old van and look like they intend to try and drain the fuel from your vehicle with a rubber hose into a plastic container, turn them away. They are the cowboys and they’re putting you, your vehicle and others at risk by trying to drain dangerous chemicals from your vehicle without the correct equipment and undoubtedly without the correct training or licensing. What’s more, they’ll probably try to charge a fortune and demand up front payment. Don’t fall for it! Be patient and call in the experts at the Wrong Fuel Recovery Company.