No Job Too Big For The Wrong Fuel Emergency Team

Now this one was an unusual task, but it proves that no job is too big (or too small) for our team of wrong fuel emergency experts.

We received a call a few days ago from a construction site in the north Birmingham area. This was a very large scale housing development involving some seriously large construction machinery, the type of machinery that gets delivered to a site on those massive, super wide trucks with a police escort. We received a call from the construction site manager asking for our advice on a situation they were having with the delivered vehicles. Although they appeared to be full of fuel, none of the vehicle engines would start and the site manager thought that there might be something up with the diesel fuel in the vehicles.

Our man, Simon, was straight on the road to assist. He made it to the site in good time and found the site manager that we spoke to earlier on. He showed Simon to one of the vehicles, a JCB digger. Simon had a look at the fuel tank on the vehicle and drained off some of it to have a closer look. To his amazement he realised that the diesel fuel actually had a lot of water mixed into it, far too much for it to be a condensation problem or minor ingress due to a ruptured fuel tank. Upon checking the other vehicles which also wouldn’t start, Simon discovered the same thing. Diesel fuel diluted with water in the fuel tanks.

The site manager called the company responsible for hiring out the construction vehicles and explained the situation. Further investigation revealed that a mix up had in all likelihood been made by a new employee who had been tasked with topping up the fuel in the vehicles before they were delivered to the site. This was now a major wrong fuel emergency as the pressure was on for the site manager to get his day’s work done according to their tight schedule. Simon contacted another of our experts who was working in the area to ask if he could assist with getting the contaminated fuel out of these vehicles.

As you might imagine, construction vehicles have far larger fuel tanks than a diesel car and our guys fuel evacuation tanks were filled very quickly. Thankfully, we have a depot close by where the fuel drain units could be emptied and returned to the site. One major concern was with the vehicle engines themselves and whether they were damaged beyond repair after attempts were made to start the vehicles. Starting an engine with the wrong fuel in it, petrol in diesel for instance, is one thing but trying to start an engine with water in the fuel system presents a bigger problem. Water boils and vaporizes at a much low temperature than those seen during fuel combustion. Should water get to the injector tip and is then introduced to extremely high temperatures, then that water will expand very quickly and may cause damage to the injector. This was a big problem for the hire company as these vehicle represented a huge investment and replacement engines or major repairs would not be cheap.

Our team had all the vehicle drained during the morning and then had a seriously large amount of diesel delivered to the site. All the vehicle affected had their fuel systems flushed through with some fresh diesel to clear any residual water out of the tank and system. They were then all filled with diesel. The critical moment arrived when the vehicle drivers had to start there engines. A huge sigh of relief was heard from the site manager as all the engines started. One vehicle had a few grumbling issues which were resolved quickly and the vehicles could be put back to work.

To say the site manager and hire company rep were grateful would be a gross understatement! Friends for life we think!

No matter what vehicle you’re driving, call our team of wrong fuel experts for advice. We can help.

Careful With The Pool Cars! – Wrong Fuel Emergency Warning

There are a lot of companies in the UK who have “pool cars”. These cars are used by company employees when they need to make journeys on behalf of the business or by automotive companies for testing purposes. It seems to be becoming something of a common practice, presumably to help with keeping costs down because it’s less expensive than providing employees with their own company cars.

We received a call from a motorist in Warwickshire who had put petrol into a diesel 4×4 at the services on the M40. He had managed to fill the vehicle right up to the top with the wrong fuel type and put his mistake down to his constant swapping of vehicles from the company pool. The previous day he had been driving a petrol vehicle of the same type and had filled that up as normal but had made the error of putting in petrol instead of diesel when filling up this vehicle. Our wrong fuel emergency engineer was with him quickly and had the situation under control within the hour; another very happy customer. But this was only one of several calls we’ve had in the past couple of months from motorists in the same predicament. The company pool cars are a mixture of diesel and petrol vehicles and frequently swapping between the two is causing an issue for some motorists. As we have mentioned many times before, it’s partly because of the more refined diesel vehicle engines which make it difficult to tell the difference between diesel and petrol engines in many vehicles. The cars are in constant use and tend to be filled up with fuel every couple of days which also increases the chances of a wrong fuel emergency occurring.

If you control pool cars for a company, we would recommend that stickers are put onto the outside of the fuel filler cap as is a common practice with many hire car firms in an effort to prevent users filling up with the wrong fuel. The stickers are readily available to purchase on the internet and are easily applied. Hopefully this will help eliminate petrol in diesel errors and control associated costs for your company. With large companies the cost can be significant and the delays caused by these situations also add to the avoidable costs. The alternative is to only use vehicles with one type of engine so that employees are aware that pool cars are either diesel or petrol and will be less likely to make a mistake when filling up.

Wrong Fuel Emergency – Massive DIY Risk

Disaster has been averted once more by a vigilant wrong fuel customer, Alan, who called us out to a job in Bromsgrove. His elderly father had unfortunately managed to put the wrong fuel into his diesel Citroen C4. The car originally had half a tank of diesel in it and had then had about ten litres of unleaded petrol added to it before the mistake had been registered. Alan’s father had then driven the car back to his home and had broken down just up the street from his driveway. A neighbour helped him to push the car onto the drive where he then intended to try to drain the fuel tank himself to remove the contaminated fuel. Alan arrived on the scene to find his father using a pump powered by an electric drill and a length of rubber tube to siphon the fuel from the tank. Petrol is a volatile liquid and the fumes were very strong around the fuel tank and receptacle being used to contain the contaminated fuel, our eagle eyed customer spotted that every time his father used the drill to operate the pump, the motor would spark! As you will undoubtedly be aware, petrol and sparks are not a good combination and there was a huge risk of an explosion every time the drill was actuated. Only the fact that there was a stiff breeze on that day meant that a terrible incident was averted. His father had been about to move the operation into the garage as it was beginning to rain. That would almost certainly have been an extremely bad idea. Had the fuel being drained been purely diesel, well then the risk is nowhere near as severe because diesel is far less volatile than petrol.

Alan called us for advice and asked if we could send one of our mobile units over to assist. Our expert engineer arrived on the scene 30 minutes later to remove the remaining contaminated fuel from the tank and to help dispose of the fuel that had already been drained. Many motorists are unaware that there are strict rules governing the handling, transportation and disposal of contaminated fuel. The penalties for those caught handling a restricted substance without the correct dispensation from the Environment Agency, can be severe and a lack of awareness is seldom accepted as an excuse. Our engineers are fully licensed and can safely dispose of contaminated fuel at a refinement station where the liquid can be refined to separate the mixed petrol and diesel.

Please be aware that a vehicle fuel drain and disposal of the contaminated fuel should only be handled by an expert. The risks involved in not using equipment specifically designed for the job, are too great and often result in a tragic disaster which could be easily avoided.

Wrong Fuel Emergency to the Rescue!

It’s great when one of your engineers can be a super hero for the day! We had a call from a gentleman named Gregory yesterday at about 10.30 am in a big panic because he was supposed to be the best man at his buddy’s wedding! He had hired a diesel Range Rover to drive the groom to the church and had then filled the tank to the top with petrol. Greg thought he was in serious trouble as he was under the impression that he might have to pay the hire company for a new engine to go in the new Range Rover and so he was understandably concerned.

The wrong fuel mistake was made whilst Greg was running his errands for the morning, ferrying bridesmaids and picking up flowers and suits. On top of his petrol in diesel woes, his mobile phone was flat just to add to the misery! We prioritised Greg’s case and had an engineer out to him within 20 minutes, thankfully he wasn’t too hard to find and the traffic was kind to our man. Our engineer, Simon, then did the fuel drain for Greg and flushed the Range Rover fuel system through with fresh diesel to make sure there was no petrol left in the system to cause any further strife or alert the hire company to what had gone on. The ECU was reset and the Range Rover brought back to life. Whilst all this was going on, Greg borrowed Simon’s mobile so that he could coordinate the other wedding party members and put his emergency plan into action. Simon was all done in under an hour from the call placed by Greg and he was back on the road. In an amazing twist of fate, Greg then received a message to say that the matron of honour’s car had run out of fuel on a duel carriageway not too far away from the forecourt where Greg had had his wrong fuel emergency. Needless to say, Simon filled up a spare container with diesel and got straight on the road to help out the stricken bridesmaid’s car. With that all sorted out, Simon then returned to base a proper hero.

We spoke to Greg when he called alter in the day and he thanked us profusely and informed us that no-one was even late and that the wedding had gone perfectly with the happy couple on their way to Paris for their honeymoon. We wish the bride and groom every happiness in their new lives together and we’re happy we could help out with the wrong fuel emergency!

Well done Simon!

New Car Wrong Fuel Emergency – Take Care With Your New Car

At Wrong Fuel Emergency, we have always noticed a spike in the number of wrong fuel cases that we attend for the first couple of weeks in March and September. This just so happens to coincide with new car registrations. These months are when there is also a spike in new car sales and many second hand cars come up for sale which have been taken in part exchange for new vehicles. In short, many more than the average number of cars swap hands during these months and the overall number of vehicles on UK roads increases significantly.

Diesel cars have reached a point in their technological advancement where it can be difficult to tell, just by listening to a car engine, whether it’s a diesel or a petrol engine. Gone are the days of the diesel “clatter”. Modern engine refinement and sound proofing techniques are producing quieter diesel power plants which deliver their power as smoothly as any petrol engine, so even when driving the car, it’s difficult to tell the difference. This is especially true of premium models such as BMW and Mercedes whose modern diesel engines are amazingly quiet even without the soundproofing.

This is one of the main reasons for the number of wrong fuel cases reaching a peak at these times. The other reason is where a motorist has swapped from a petrol car to a diesel car and they have filled up “as normal” and managed to put petrol in a diesel car. If this has happened to you, call us as soon as you’re able and we can send an engineer out to you to provide rapid, efficient expert assistance

What Does Petrol Do To A Diesel Engine?

Very often, the first question we are asked by a customer when we are attending a wrong fuel removal job is, “Will the engine be damaged by the petrol?” It’s the first thing that jumps into most people’s heads because it’s the nightmare scenario – having to replace the vehicle engine, especially if it’s a premium vehicle where replacement engines can cost many thousands of pounds to buy and fit. The reality is this; it is highly unlikely that there will be any permanent damage done to your diesel vehicle engine if you have simply filled up the fuel tank with petrol. Even if you have tried to start the car and have circulated petrol around the diesel engine components and fuel system, in the majority of cases the vehicle will be fine after a fuel drain and a fuel system flush through with fresh diesel fuel. Many wrong fuel websites warn against starting the vehicle which is what can put the panic into people’s minds, in truth it just makes the wrong fuel removal job a lot faster and easier, and so less costly, if the motorist hasn’t tried to start the engine.

Problems can start to occur if the vehicle has had a small amount of the wrong fuel added to the tank and then the motorist has tried to get away with it by topping up with diesel fuel to try to dilute the petrol. The car may run roughly with the contaminated fuel in the system and normal running may be restored once the petrol has worked it’s way out of the system. But, this is an enormously risky thing to do and the engine will in all likelihood, be damaged. This may not be immediately apparent, but over time the symptoms of damage will begin to show themselves.

Basically, petrol is a solvent and will damage the seals and other components in a diesel vehicle fuel system and engine which will cause them to gradually degrade and fail. Petrol also does not have the lubricating qualities of diesel fuel and so there will be a build up of friction between metal components that make up the sophisticated modern vehicle fuel system and they will wear out faster. This wear also introduces tiny metal particles into the fuel system which may get into the fuel injectors resulting in permanent damage and a very expensive repair job. A car that has been running for a period of time with contaminated fuel may develop the following problems:

  • Problems starting when warm
  • Excessive clouds of black smoke when accelerating
  • Rough idling when warm
  • Poor acceleration/reduced performance

If the fuel pump components are excessively worn then these problems will occur, eventually.

Having said all that, there’s really no need to panic if you’ve done the right thing and called Wrong Fuel Emergency out to assist as soon as you’ve realised that you’ve put in the wrong fuel. It’ll be much cheaper in the long run to address the problem straight away rather than try to get away with it.

Attention Diesel Vehicle Drivers – Take Care When Filling Up With Adblue

Many modern diesel car, van and truck drivers may very well be aware of adblue. It’s a substance that is injected into the vehicle exhaust system close to the exit point, which converts harmful NOx gasses into harmless Nitrogen and steam. This dramatically reduces the harmful emissions of diesel vehicles and helps them to meet strict government guidelines with regards to environmental pollution. Vehicles using adblue have a separate storage tank on-board the vehicle which is usually positioned next to the diesel tank aperture. Diesel vehicle owners who have bought their vehicles from a dealer or a sensible private seller will have been informed about adblue and may have done a little research themselves into exactly what it is. There are strict useage guidelines for adblue and one of the things you most definitely must not do, is add it to the fuel tank of your vehicle because if the adblue gets into the vehicle engine, it can cause serious damage. This information is stated on the Greenox website which can be found here if you would like to find out more.

Adblue use is increasing as more and more vehicles are fitted with tanks as standard and motorists are having tanks retrofitted to their vehicles along with the necessary exhaust system modifications. The reason for our highlighting that care needs to be taken when using adblue, is that we have now attended more than one case where our customer has inadvertently put adblue into their fuel tank. On some forecourts the adblue dispensing nozzle is next to the diesel nozzle and on some vehicles the two tank apertures are close together. Our customer suffered a momentary lapse of concentration and put about a litre of adblue into his fuel tank instead of his adblue tank. Thankfully he realised the seriousness of what he had done and he called us immediately. The problem is that adblue is corrosive and can damage metal. Now, a diesel vehicle fuel tank is usually made of plastic but the fuel passes through many metal components on its way to your metal engine. So you can see where we’re going with this! Our engineer flagged the customer as a priority case and got on the road to assist as fast as possible. In this case he was able to get to the customer very quickly to drain the contaminated fuel from the vehicle fuel tank. Handling fuel contaminated with adblue causes another issue in that we cannot then store it in a regular fuel drain tank designed to store a petrol/diesel mixture. We have to store it in a container that won’t be affected by the corrosive properties of adblue.

If you have accidentally added adblue to your diesel vehicle fuel tank, please inform the Wrong Fuel engineer when booking a fuel drain. Our mobile units can cope with this eventuality but not all fuel drain companies have this capability and you may end up getting charged a callout fee by one of our competitors, as they won’t be able to assist and will have had a wasted journey.

Call our experts for advice about using adblue or if you have any concerns about potentially having added adblue to your vehicle fuel tank.

Wrong Fuel Rescue – You Really Do Need Expert Help

As a responsible and trustworthy company we feel that we should make every effort to advise and assist where we can, even if the likelihood of a potential customer seeing the advice we offer before they need it, is fairly low. It may help someone and that’s the main point. Today, we’re pointing out the importance of using an expert to do the fuel drain on your vehicle should you need it. We have attended 3 wrong fuel rescue cases over the last fortnight where we have had to assist a mechanic or put right a poor job done by a wrong fuel cowboy. The job where we assisted the mechanic was a genuine case of someone trying their best to do a good job for the customer but falling short because of a lack of equipment. The apparatus that we use is specifically designed to remove the wrong fuel from a vehicle. It’s very expensive and would only make economic sense to own it if you were going to use it regularly for it’s intended use. The chances of a local garage, dealership or general recovery company owning this type of equipment is very slim and, when required, you will probably find that the individual assigned the fuel drain task will try to make do with what equipment they do have or will hire sub-standard gear from somewhere else. We have seen cases where professional mechanics at certain dealerships which shall remain nameless, have attempted to do a fuel drain on a customer’s car with a hand pump and rubber tubing with the fuel going into a plastic barrel (and all over the car and the mechanic!) As we’re sure you’ll be aware, this is incredibly dangerous and definitely not advised. Anyway, back to our original case of the mechanic trying to do the best job that we could, he had considered doing something similar with a small electric pump but had realised that he had nothing to hold 60 litres of contaminated fuel in. That’s an awful lot of fuel and a very big container required. His client had filled a 4×4 Landrover up with petrol and there had been about 20 litres of diesel in there already. Our mobile wrong fuel emergency response vehicles are fitted with very large stainless steel fuel containers which are more than capable of storing several full tanks of contaminated fuel. The other consideration for our mechanic was for his safety. Petrol fumes are very unpleasant and harmful to inhale and this was another of his problems he was almost overcome by the fumes just from trying to pump out a little fuel because his storage container wasn’t a sealed unit. Our engineer turned up and took over the job and had everything sorted in about 15 minutes. The mechanic still had a happy customer and has vowed to always call us in the future if needs be. An awful lot of hassle could have been avoided if the customer had called us out in the first place but then many people don’t know we exist until they need us. We’re doing our best to make motorists more aware of this industry by regularly updating this blog with useful info.

The other cases we attended where we had to take over a job were very different. The first was at a dealership where the vehicle had a complicated dual fuel tank set up as some large 4×4’s tend to have. The dealer couldn’t do the job properly and did the right thing in calling us to assist. We’ll bet the customer still paid through the nose for the work though! The other case involved an abandoned job, the attending wrong fuel cowboy had found himself unable to do the job but had still demanded payment from the customer until a passing policeman intervened. The cowboy had then cleared off pretty sharpish leaving the customer stranded. We arrived and had the job all sorted and the vehicle running properly in double quick time.

Basically, the moral of these stories is that you should always call an expert where you’re dealing with hazardous chemicals. The industry is heavily regulated for a reason and all of our engineers have SPA passports to say they have been properly trained and they all have authorisation from the Environment Agency to allow them to handle and transport contaminated fuel.

Wrong Fuel Motorway Safety Advice

Following a reported very near miss yesterday for one of engineers, we wanted to share some advice with our readers with regards to wrong fuel issues and motorways. We get a few incidents every month involving motorists who have accidentally filled up with the wrong fuel at a motorway service station. Some don’t even get off the forecourt before the car or van grinds to a halt, but some manage to either get onto the slip road or even on to the motorway itself before everything starts to go wrong. We have had a couple of cases where the vehicle has conked out in the slow lane of the motorway which, as you would imagine, is terribly dangerous for the driver and other motorists already on the motorway. In this case we would recommend calling the emergency services to let them know about the hazard, particularly if the traffic is heavy and the vehicle is causing bad congestion which can happen very quickly. Even if you are able to get the car moved onto the hard shoulder, this is a very risky thing to try given the speed of vehicles on the motorway and the fact that the slow lane is usually occupied by trucks!

This particular wrong fuel emergency involved a car that had luckily made it onto the hard shoulder. The motorist had done the right thing in getting out of the car and was waiting for us on the grass verge. Unfortunately, in their haste to get out of the vehicle, the motorist forgot to put on the vehicle hazard warning lights and it was starting to get dark. Just after the customer called us, a container truck came careering towards the hard shoulder after one of its tyres had blown out. The truck driver didn’t see the car until the last moment and took the wing mirror clean off! No other damage done though, and thankfully no-one was hurt just a little shocked. Our engineer arrived a short while later to help sort everything out. Our customer was very lucky to get away with such minor vehicle damage and the truck driver had his driving skills well and truly tested (well done to him by the way!)

It’s a stressful situation as we are well aware but if you are ever in a similar wrong fuel predicament or your car has just broken down for some other reason, please do remember to consider other motorists. If it’s dark or getting dark and your vehicle is on the motorway, the hard shoulder or any public road where it may cause a potential hazard, always switch on your hazard warning lights!

Be safe!

Wrong Fuel – Cheap Diesel Warning

Yet another heads up for diesel motorists in the UK. We have just been called out to do a fuel drain for the owner of a diesel car who filled up with, wait for it…… diesel! Unfortunately for him it was cheap diesel that an acquaintance had recommended. It was dispensed at an “unofficial fuel depot” at a far lower cost than a regular forecourt. The car owner called us when his car started to run rough when warm, cut out when idling and occasionally emit plumes of black smoke from the exhaust. In this case the motorist was most fortunate that he called us out as it turned out his car had been filled with red or agricultural diesel and old, dodgy red diesel at that. Red diesel has exactly the same chemical composition as regular white diesel which you would fill up with on a regular fuel station forecourt, but it is subject to a much lower tax rate specifically to assist the agricultural and construction industries. The red colouration of this fuel is a dye used to identify it for special useage circumstances. Now, here’s the rub, if you get caught using red diesel in a regular diesel motor car you may be subject to a very heavy fine. The HMRC are actively carrying out random “dips” and are authorised to stop and test any vehicle that they feel may possibly be illegally using red diesel.

Our client was completely unaware of the risk and unaware that his car had been filled with red diesel. We drained the fuel tank for him and flushed his vehicle fuel system and, whilst his vehicle was completely unharmed, he did end up losing out on the £50 it cost him to get the tank filled. On the positive side, he won’t be at risk of getting fined thousands of pounds. Sometimes even the right fuel type can be the wrong fuel to use!

Please don’t get caught out.