Wrong Fuel Emergency in the Middle of Nowhere

Wrong Fuel Emergency LostA fair number of cases that we have attended in the past and will probably attend in the future concern motorists who are stranded in an unfamiliar location. Now, in many cases the motorist affected by the wrong fuel scenario, is able to ask about their current location, if they’re stuck on the forecourt. They can ask a fellow motorist, do a phone location search if they have the required knowledge to do so or check with the staff in the kiosk. But, it isn’t always that simple. Our engineers deal with a phenomenal amount of wrong fuel cases every day and so there are always a fair few strange occurrences amongst them. Some of lost and stranded customers are those who are unlucky enough to have filled up with petrol in a fuel tank that already contains a fair amount of diesel. The motorist doesn’t notice their error and they get into their vehicle and drive away from the forecourt. Depending upon the type of vehicle, some of them manage to get a fair distance away from the fuel station before the engine begins to show any symptoms of mis-fuelling. Again, some of these motorists are able to easily identify their location but sometimes the motorist literally encounters the worst case scenario and breaks down a few miles from the petrol station, at night and in the middle of nowhere.

We count these as priority wrong fuel emergency cases, especially if they involve a lone female motorist or a lone elderly motorist. Often, if the vehicle is stranded on a dark country lane, it may present a hazard to other motorists as well as being unsafe for the vehicle owner. Our advice in these cases is always that the vehicle should have the hazard warning lights turned on and if a red warning triangle is present in the vehicle boot, then that should be erected behind the vehicle in the road as long as it’s safe to do so.

A perfect example of such a case occurred a few weeks ago when one of our guys attended a case of a wrong fuel emergency victim whose vehicle had broken down at night on the A453 Tamworth road just outside Sutton Coldfield. This road has no street lighting and runs through a very rural area with no lighting nearby, just rolling fields. Thankfully, the motorist, Rose, had a smartphone and was able to call a relative who passed on our number after doing an internet search. The complication arose when we asked for Rose’s location. She had been visiting a elderly friend and had put in the wrong fuel on her way home. She put 20 litres of petrol into half a tank of diesel and had then taken a wrong turn whilst trying to make her way back towards the M6 toll road. She was not sure where she was and was unfamiliar with her phone and could not find her location. Our first point of contact when customers call, knows exactly how to handle such situations and was able to talk Rose through how to use her phone to navigate to our website and use the “Find Me” function to pinpoint her location. This has proven to be a very useful website function on a number of occasions. Once our engineer knew the road that Rose had broken down on, he was able to find her quickly and was with her in less than 30 minutes. Rose had followed the advice given to her and had switched on her hazard warning lights. Thankfully, the traffic was light on that evening as it was getting quite late, and she didn’t experience the added stress of any near misses with other vehicles using the road.

She was on her way again within the hour and let us know when she had safely reached home. If you’re a in an unfamiliar place and you have been the victim of a wrong fuel mistake, call Wrong Fuel Emergency as soon as you can and we will help in any way we can to make sure you are safely back on the right road with a fully functioning vehicle as soon as possible.

Wrong Fuel in an American Classic

Wrong Fuel American ClassicClassic American cars are great and we love seeing them sailing down the road when their owners take them out for a spin. Most of them tended to have huge engines and did about 10 miles to the gallon, hence why they only seem to come out occasionally! Everything was big about them. They were wide, long and had huge tyres. This theme of everything being big also extended to the fuel filler aperture and we’ve had a good few cases attended by our engineers where the owner has accidentally filled their American Behemoth with the wrong fuel. These cases are all the opposite of the majority of our work and when we turn up to do a fuel drain on an American classic, it’s always because the driver has put diesel into the tank when these amazing machines all ran on 4 star or unleaded. The fuel tank apertures tend to be non UK standard if they’re original.

One of our engineers recently attended a case in Derby whereby the owner of a 1959 Cadillac De-ville, the classic Caddy with the huge tail fins, had mistakenly put about 10 litres of diesel into the tank before realising his error and weighing up his options. Our customer had RAC membership and first put in a call to them but they were having a busy day and needed 2 hours to get to him. This would have meant that our motorist would have missed a large part of the American car show that he was due to attend and he needed to get his car to his appointed display space. A quick internet phone search for “wrong fuel Derby” and he was able to find Wrong Fuel Emergency and gave us a call. We had an engineer who had dealt with large American classics before and had an interest in them. He was close to Derby at the time so we sent him along and he was with our customer in less than 40 minutes. It was a fairly quick and simple job for our engineer as there wasn’t much fuel to remove. The only time consuming part of the job for him was the requirement for a careful fuel system flush to make sure that there was no residual diesel left in there. Old engines need good care even if they are massive V8’s! The Caddy was soon burbling nicely once more (they do sound great, these old American V8s) and our happy customer was on his way to the show in plenty of time.

As we mentioned earlier, we’ve seen quite a few American classics with the wrong fuel in the tank, but we’ve also seen the same scenario with other imported vehicles such as Japanese sports car imports. Many of these vehicles don’t have UK standard fuel tank apertures and if the owner loses concentration for just a few moments, it’s all too easy to accidentally pick up the wrong fuel nozzle and put diesel in there instead of unleaded fuel. If you’re an import owner or an American classic owner and you find yourself in a similar predicament, don’t worry! Give us a call and we’ll send out an engineer who knows just how to deal with exotic vehicles!

Happy cruising!

Wrong Fuel Emergency At The Safari Park

Now this one has to be the stuff of nightmares! As if accidentally putting in the wrong fuel isn’t bad enough, imagine doing just that only for your car to break down whilst driving around the lion enclosure at a safari park! This certainly makes for an interesting tale, but we won’t be naming names to save causing an embarrassing scandal. Suffice it to say that one of our engineers received the rather alarming call shortly after the safari park had opened. A Landrover Freelander was stranded not far from the entrance to the lion enclosure. The stricken motorist had driven a long distance to take his family for a day out at the safari park and had topped up his fuel tank at a petrol station just 2 minutes down the road from the safari park.

In most wrong fuel cases the motorist affected has pulled into the fuel station and put petrol into an almost empty fuel tank. If they then attempt to start the vehicle engine (which is not advisable, but may happen as the motorist has not yet noticed their error) in the vast majority of cases the engine will not start or will immediately stall as there is not enough diesel in the fuel lines to keep the engine going before the petrol gets pumped in there. In this case, though, our customer already had half a tank of diesel in the vehicle and just topped up. He had noticed the car was running a little roughly as he made his way down the road to the safari park but as the park was so close it hadn’t been bad enough for him to suspect there was a problem. It was only when the vehicle cut out completely that the reason suddenly occurred to him.

Obviously, the safari park safety team were first on the scene to tow our customer to safety. I’m pretty sure that our engineer would not have felt at all comfortable doing a fuel drain on a vehicle whilst being circled by inquisitive lions! The park emergency vehicle towed the stricken Landrover to safety and then put in a call to us to come out to assist.

Our man arrived on the scene 30 minutes later to remove the wrong fuel from the customer’s vehicle. With the contaminated fuel pumped out, the fuel system was then flushed through with fresh diesel fuel and the engine fired up again. Although Landrover engines are made of pretty stern stuff, petrol can be bad news for any diesel power plant, especially if the removal job is not done properly by an expert. With the job done and the customer happy to be able to continue the family day out at the safari park, our engineer made his way through the large animal enclosure and back on the road to help another wrong fuel emergency victim.

Wrong Fuel Emergency – More Adblue Blues

Wrong Fuel EmergencyMany diesel vehicle drivers, especially those driving diesel vehicles for a living will be well aware of Adblue at this point in time. Adblue is a diesel fuel treatment that helps convert a lot of the bad nitrous oxide emissions from a diesel exhaust system, into nitrogen and water (in steam form). Many diesel vehicles have a separate Adblue tank which holds a few litres of Adblue and will last for quite a while, depending upon how many miles you do. We have previously posted about Adblue on our blog concerning the dangers of accidentally putting Adblue into the diesel fuel tank. As mentioned, some vehicles have the Adblue and fuel tank apertures close together and at some fuel stations the nozzles for diesel and for Adblue are the same colour. Mistakes are quite easily made in these situations. The reason we are posting again on this subject is to warn diesel drivers who have been recently introduced to Adblue, against bad advice which seems to be in circulation. Just like the wrong fuel bad advice suggesting that it’s OK to run your diesel vehicle if you’ve accidentally put a few litres of petrol into the tank, as long as you top up with diesel (very bad advice, please don’t try this), there seems to be another rumour mill running somewhere suggesting that it might be a good idea to put some Adblue in with your diesel! No,no,no! This is terrible advice but it has obviously been doing the rounds as we have had a number of call outs now to workshops where a vehicle has been brought in with various running complaints and the mechanic has deduced that there is something wrong with the fuel which has caused an engine issue.

Very often the first question we ask in these cases is, “Has the driver put the wrong fuel in the tank and tried to drive the vehicle in this condition?” and often, we get a positive response. But in a few cases the mechanic has discovered that the driver was advised by a friend/colleague/bloke down the pub, that they should put some Adblue into the diesel tank to further reduce emissions levels. The reason that this is a terrible idea, as we have discussed before, is that Adblue is corrosive and whilst that may not affect your plastic fuel tank, it will most certainly not be good at all for the metal components in your diesel vehicle fuel system and engine. Adblue and diesel fuel must always be kept in their separate tanks and never mixed. The Adblue is introduced to the exhaust system close to the exit point of the hot harmful gases and in such a way that it affects the emitted gas only and not the metal of the exhaust system.

If you suspect a vehicle may have Adblue in its fuel tank or if you own a vehicle and have followed some bad advice and introduced Adblue to a diesel vehicle fuel tank, please call a member of our expert wrong fuel emergency team who will be able to come straight out to you and perform a fuel drain on your vehicle.

Wrong Fuel Emergency for the pace car

Never a dull moment for our wrong fuel emergency experts! One of our team was at the Birmingham Wheels raceway recently attending a wrong fuel incident which, once again, was certainly a matter of some urgency. Our man received a call from one of the race organisers who was in a stressful situation whereby one of the staff members had accidentally managed to put petrol into the tank of their diesel engine pace car. The race was due to start in 30 minutes and the racers were getting ready to line up on the grid after their qualifying laps.

Andy, our engineer, was working in the vicinity and managed to get himself on the scene in just 15 minutes. This was going to be a tough one as the pace car had been filled to the brim with petrol on top of a quarter of a tank of petrol! He got straight onto the job and connected up the pump unit to remove the contaminated fuel from the tank. With this job done he then needed to flush the fuel system of the car through with fresh diesel to ensure that no trace of petrol remained in the system to compromise the lubrication of internal fuel system components where there is metal to metal contact. The presence of petrol in a diesel fuel system can cause excessive wear resulting in the accumulation of tiny metal particles or “swarf” in the fuel lines. These can find their way into the engine injection system resulting in blockage of the injectors which causes the engine to run badly, if at all. In extreme cases you may even end up having to replace the diesel injectors which is a lengthy and expensive job.

The pace car engine, however, has not been started with the wrong fuel in the system as the staff member responsible realised his error before putting the key into the ignition. Thankfully, he was quick thinking and got straight onto Wrong Fuel Emergency and explained his situation.

Once Andy had flushed the fuel system, he then reset the engine ECU and the pacecar was ready to go. The race started and no-one even noticed there was a problem, except for the staff behind the scenes who were all thanking Andy profusely and wiping the sweat from their brows!

The show must go on!

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