Wrong Fuel Emergency – Diesel in a petrol vehicle

Diesel In Petrol VehicleMost of the wrong fuel cases that we deal with on a day to day business are those where a motorist has filled up a diesel car with petrol. There are no end of reasons why this scenario is much more common than diesel in a petrol vehicle. The diesel fuel tank aperture is larger than the petrol filler nozzle, diesel engines are so quiet nowadays that they can easily be confused with petrol engines, a lot of motorists who have previously owned petrol cars are switching to more fuel efficient diesel cars and they then fill up on autopilot having forgotten that they switched to a diesel – the list goes on. In contrast, the reverse scenario whereby a motorist puts diesel into a petrol vehicle is rare. For one thing, the diesel nozzle is wider than the standard petrol fuel tank aperture on a car, 4×4 or van and so it’s highly likely that a distracted motorist who has picked up the diesel nozzle instead of the petrol one, will notice when they try to insert the nozzle.

Problems usually occur when the fuel tank is non-standard and we have seen cases where big old American classics have been filled with diesel or classic UK cars with retrofitted non-standard tanks have suffered the same fate. We have also seen a number of cases where diesel has been put into a petrol engine car from a fuel storage container or “Jerry Can”. Diesel is also occasionally put into motorcycle fuel tanks and this blog post mainly concerns a case of this very type. Hopefully, motorcyclists in the same predicament may view this article and follow our advice on what to do if this happens to you and what the possible symptoms of diesel in a petrol motorbike may be.

The case we’re looking at here is fairly typical. One of our wrong fuel engineers received a call from a stricken motorcyclist who had put half a tank of diesel into his motorcycle fuel tank which already had half a tank of unleaded petrol in it. He had apparently not noticed at the time of filling up and had then proceeded to ride on and only noticed that something was wrong a few miles further on down the road. As he continued, the bike had begun to run more and more roughly and emit an increasing amount of white smoke as more of the diesel fuel was drawn into the fuel system of the bike. Eventually his bike had stalled completely and would not restart. It was only at this point that our customer had realised his mistake. He called Wrong Fuel Emergency after doing a search for a solution using his smartphone. His breakdown company had informed him that they would need 2 hours to reach him and that they would then need to transport the bike to a local garage for them to do a fuel drain on the bike, as they didn’t have a suitable vehicle available to help him out.

Our customer was on his way into work on his bike and didn’t have the time to spare to wait around for his breakdown company. He called us and we dispatched a wrong fuel engineer to help him straight away. Our man was there within 30 minutes, fully equipped to carry out a fuel drain on the motorbike. He also flushed the motorcycle fuel system through with unleaded petrol to remove all traces of diesel fuel. He then cleaned the spark plugs on the motorbike engine and advised the customer to change the fuel filter as soon as possible just to be thorough. The motorbike started up first time and our customer was on his way less than an hour after his call. Another happy customer and another exceptional situation dealt with efficiently by a Wrong Fuel Emergency engineer.

Wrong Fuel Emergency – Right Service, Right Price

wrong fuel make the right choiceMany drivers will have, at some time or other, had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a bad or untrustworthy mechanic. You may have been given bad advice, been overcharged for a job or a job may have been done to an unacceptable standard. Unless you have a sound knowledge of the inner workings of engines and running gear, you are reliant upon the good nature of the mechanic who you have taken your vehicle to. We’re not just talking about your local back street mechanic here, we’re also talking about disreputable main dealers with lavish showrooms and large well equipped workshops. Wherever the business profits come before customer satisfaction, we see problems. The wrong fuel industry is no exception. We know there are many rogues operating in this sector and we know this because a large percentage of our day to day operations is spent putting jobs right that have been done badly by these rogue companies. There seems to be a misconception that removing the wrong fuel from a vehicle is a low skilled job, well that’s a little like assuming that just because everyone can write, that makes authors low skilled people.

Wrong Fuel Emergencies Need The Right Skills

Our wrong fuel emergency engineers are highly skilled. They have many years of experience with performing fuel drains on all manner of vehicles, that goes without saying, but most importantly we recognise that a large percentage of our business comes through word of mouth. The power of our customer’s opinions of our engineers and how they conduct themselves whilst attending a wrong fuel emergency, is immense. Filling up with the wrong fuel isn’t something that you plan for and will be completely unexpected. This leads to a highly stressful situation involving an unexpected and avoidable cost. Our engineers fully appreciate this, and so a large part of our service involves reducing the hassle of the situation. The affected motorist will not be in the best frame of mind whether that’s caused by the possibility of being late for work, late to pick up/drop off the kids or potentially missing out on a holiday. The effectiveness of our service is something the motorist only really reflects upon, after the event when the situation is resolved and they are back on the road again. Once the wrong fuel emergency has been resolved, our engineers will ask their customer if they would mind leaving feedback about the service they received, at their convenience. There is no pressure put on our customers to give feedback. We are happy to report that a great many customers do go on to leave feedback on our website, and in all our years of operation we have yet to receive a negative comment! It’s good to know that all our engineers are out there taking care of wrong fuel situation victims.

Getting The Right Service At The Right Price

Apart from reporting the effectiveness of our wrong fuel service, this blog post is also concerned with how motorists should go about getting the right service and avoiding paying for unnecessary or shoddy repairs. We don’t do pressure sales, when a motorist calls us for help the first thing we do is offer advice and, where possible, reassurance. It often seems like a huge problem that may attract huge repair bills to someone who doesn’t understand how a vehicle fuel system works, but in the vast majority of cases – that is certainly not true. We will explain to the motorist what needs to be done and actually how little that will cost them. We let our potential customers make their own mind up about whether to use our service or not, but we will point them in the direction of our many very positive feedback comments left by previous customers and more often than not, this reassures the customer that they are making a wise choice by using Wrong Fuel Emergency. We are experts in this field; our engineers perform fuel drains day in and day out on all manner of different vehicles with different fuel systems. It may feel like the right choice to take your new car to the main dealer but having heard so many negative comments from customers who have been staggered at how much their main dealer wanted to charge them to do a fuel drain on their vehicle, we would recommend extreme caution. A main dealer has huge overheads to cover and may have been informed by warranty companies that all repairs must be carried out using brand new OEM parts if there is even a small chance that they may be required. If a main dealer engineer is not a fuel system or fuel drain specialist, and most are not, then they will always err on the side of caution and recommend full replacement of all fuel system components and even, on occasion, of whole engines. That can be frighteningly expensive and often totally unnecessary.

We also advise caution if you’re tempted to call your breakdown/roadside assistance company who you may have a membership with. Again, they have large overheads as they offer a very wide range of services and will charge to carry out a fuel drain as this is highly unlikely to be covered within your membership. Once more they do not specialise in fuel drain operations.

A Fuel Drain Will Solve 99% Of Wrong Fuel Emergencies

Even if you have started your vehicle with the wrong fuel in the system, in most cases a fuel drain will fix the problem completely as long as it’s done properly. The whole system must be completely drained and then flushed through extensively with fuel of the correct type to ensure that absolutely none remains anywhere in the system or in the engine. It is not enough just to remove as much of the wrong fuel type as possible from the tank. Any residual fuel of the wrong type left in the system will, in the case of petrol in a diesel vehicle, compromise fuel system lubrication which will damage internal components and result in component failure at some point in the near future. This will mean expensive repairs are required. A professional fuel drain is not nearly as expensive and even if money is tight right now, please don’t expose yourself to avoidable big bills a few months down the line.

Try Not To Panic, Be Cautious

If you have filled up with the wrong fuel, we acknowledge that you are under pressure and will feel stressed. The last thing you need to hear is that your car will be off the road for a few days and will cost thousands of pounds to repair. It is so important to consult an expert as soon as possible, who is willing to give you advice rather than simply secure the job. When you call our engineers we will give you advice depending upon your particular situation and give you our expert opinion of the best course of action. If you decide to use our service we will send an expert to you as quickly as possible. Our extensive network of wrong fuel engineers enables us to do this amazing quickly so that you are inconvenienced for as short a period of time as possible. If you are consulting a main dealer or local mechanic, listen to what they say but don’t commit to any action until you have spoken to a wrong fuel expert.

Wrong Fuel In Large Vehicles

Wrong Fuel Emergency BusOne point regarding the wrong fuel industry that we frequently come back to, and will continue to do so due to its importance, is about choosing a reputable and capable company to attend your wrong fuel emergency. Our engineers are fuel drain specialists. That doesn’t mean that they only know how to remove the wrong fuel from a vehicle fuel tank, it means that they know and have experience of a wide range of vehicle engines from older models up to the very latest vehicles hitting UK roads. Our engineers know about removing contaminated fuel from sophisticated vehicle fuel systems whether they are in the latest high tech BMW diesel engine or a double decker bus.

Which brings us on to the main point of this blog post. We received a call recently from an exasperated manager of a local bus service. Someone refilling the tanks at the depot meant for refuelling buses, had managed to accidentally put petrol into the diesel tanks. One of the buses had then been refuelled with petrol instead of diesel which caused a major problem as they already had 2 buses out of action due to breakdowns. When the depot manager called us, he had already spoken to 2 other companies about the problem. The first told him that they did not have the capacity on board their mobile fuel drain units to cope with the job and the second company turned up having drastically underestimated the fuel tank capacity of a bus and with decidedly suspect equipment. The job was explained to our engineer and he knew exactly what to do. The problem here was quite a basic one, buses have huge fuel tanks – much larger than a car. This particular bus had a 150 litre fuel tank and a normal family saloon car has a 60 litre fuel tank. The depot also had about 400 litres of petrol mixed with 100 litres of diesel remaining in the refuelling tank for the buses.

650 litres of fuel is a lot to drain and move and requires a properly equipped mobile fuel drain service to do it. Our mobile units are fitted with fuel scavenging equipment with a capacity of 250 litres. The contaminated fuel is stored in a specially built steel storage unit on board the vehicle. When our engineer attended the job, he was able to completely drain the bus fuel tank and then flush the fuel distribution system with fresh diesel to remove all traces of petrol from the bus engine and fuel system components. Modern buses are fitted with an ECU which also needed to be reset once the job was completed. This enabled the bus driver to return to his route within 90 minutes of having called our man out to attend the job. Our engineer was then left with the task of transporting the rest of the contaminated fuel to our disposal centre, which took a further 2 trips.

This kind of wrong fuel emergency happens from time to time and usually find that other companies have been asked to solve the problem but have been unable to do so to the standard required. Sometimes due to a lack of capacity but more often due to a lack of understanding of how large vehicle fuel systems work and what is required to do the job properly. If you work for a transportation company dealing with large vehicles such as buses or HGVs, do your boss a favour and point him in our direction if there’s an emergency situation we can help with.

Wrong Fuel in a Hire Car

Wrong Fuel in a hire carHelping customers who have put the wrong fuel into a hire car is something that we have done on many occasions and, in fact, many of our engineers will tackle this scenario several times in a week. This type of case is particularly common in the vicinity of airports and it’s usually customers who need to catch a flight who call us in a panic.

These cases happen because, as anyone who has ever hired a car will tell you, most of the time the car will be supplied to you full of fuel when you arrive in the country. You have to return that vehicle full of fuel and most hire car users will do this on the way back to the airport at the closest fuel station. With modern diesels being as quiet as they are and with the driver usually being unfamiliar with the vehicle or owning and driving a petrol vehicle normally, mistakes are very often made and petrol instead of diesel ends up in the fuel tank. These cases are prioritised by our wrong fuel engineers as, more often than not, the customer has a flight to catch which might be leaving in as little as 90 minutes or so. As we have engineers constantly on the go in almost all of the big cities and towns in the UK, and certainly those with busy airports, we can provide an emergency fuel drain solution for these customers, enabling them to catch their flights and return their hire cars without having to pay huge repair bills or enter into lengthy explanations to the hire company. We have heard many a horror story whereby a hire car user had been rescued by hire company’s employees and had then been charged for replacement of the vehicle engine! The real horror was then fully realised when the user finds out that their insurance doesn’t cover wrong fuel incidents.

One call to the Wrong Fuel Emergency team will remove the headache and the hassle. We can make sure to get an engineer to you as fast as possible, who can get the job done efficiently and with no fuss so that you can return the car to the hire company and catch your flight on time. All costs are explained up front before we dispatch an engineer so that our customers are comfortable with the cost of the service and how they will pay. Our fees are low and competitive, many customers are often surprised how little it actually costs to solve the problem as they are very often envisioning huge repair bills from the hire company.

A fuel drain is not just a temporary fix, either. The wrong fuel removal job that our engineers do, is thorough and will completely remove all traces of the wrong fuel type from the vehicle. The fuel system will be flushed through with fresh diesel and the engine ECU reset if required. So there is no worrying to be done about possible repercussions from the hire company.

One of the many advantages of using Wrong Fuel Emergency comes in the fact that we have many multi-lingual engineers. Often the hire car customer may not be a native English speaker and it is always good to ask in these cases if we have an engineer who speaks your particular language. Wrong fuel incidents are stressful enough without the added complication of trying to communicate in a language you may only know a little of. Our network of engineers are experts in the wrong fuel emergency industry but they also have many other strings to their bows!

Call us today if you’ve accidentally filled up a hire car with the wrong fuel. We’ll save you a fortune!

Fuel Drains for Winter Storage of Boats and Classic Cars

Fuel Drain Winter Storage BoatNot every job we do is a wrong fuel emergency, in fact our engineers are always receiving calls from customers asking advice about various fuel related issues. One very common question is about fuel storage and whether or not it’s OK to store fuel for a long time or to leave fuel in a vehicle fuel tank if it’s going to be stored over the winter or whilst the owner is away for a long while. Very often we provide a fuel drain service for car owners who are going to work overseas for a long period of time or classic car owners who are putting their cars into storage because they won’t be used for a period of time, such as during the winter.

Another common fuel drain that we do is on boat fuel tanks. Our engineers work on all sorts of boats from motor boats to cabin cruisers and canal barges to yachts. A lot of boats are stored in harbours or on canals during the winter whilst the seas are too rough for sailing or the canal is just frozen up altogether. We always advise boat owners to change oil and fuel filters before the boat goes into storage and to have the fuel tank and engine fuel system flushed through with clean fuel and drained so that diesel isn’t allowed to sit in the tank during the winter months. It’s also important to drain your fresh water tanks and make sure engine coolant water has plenty of antifreeze in there.

Draining the boat fuel tank is an important part of yearly boat maintenance to make sure that your boat engine keeps running smoothly. Many of the jobs we do involve new boat owners who have purchased a boat that has been dry stored for many years with fuel left in the tank. This fuel is obviously unusable and there is now a build up of sludge in the bottom of the tank. Just removing the liquid with a hand pump and topping up with fresh fuel is not enough. Even the best fuel filter will struggle to cope with the sludge and this will lead to further engine problems down the line. Our wrong fuel mobile units are equipped with a high power pump that can completely evacuate the fuel tank. We can then flush the whole fuel system with fresh fuel and remove all traces of sludge, debris and old fuel, restoring the fuel system to its optimum working condition.

Fuel Drain Boat Winter StorageIf fuel stabilisers are not used in diesel fuel then it actually oxidises quite quickly and can start to cause engine problems, such as clogged injectors, after as little as 30 days. If your boat will be stored for 6 months then you can imagine the problems you may encounter after the fuel has been left in the tank for that long! There is also the problem of condensation forming in the tank and getting into the fuel. Ideally, the fuel tank would be left unsealed and once the boat was being prepared for the good weather in the spring, the owner would have the tank flushed to remove any condensation that may have gathered in there over the winter.

If you will be storing a boat over the winter or storing a car for any length of time, speak to our experts about arranging for a fuel drain. Our charges are very competitive and it’s a job that may save you many hundreds in engine repairs if the fuel system is neglected.

The Dangers of DIY Wrong Fuel Removal

wrong fuel do not DIYWe have touched upon the danger of trying to do a fuel drain yourself on a vehicle in the past, but we also feel that it’s very important to come back to this particular subject because it’s one that we feel strongly about with several of our engineers having either averted disasters or, sadly, having heard about disasters that have happened because a motorist has followed some terrible advice or has seen a video on the internet making the job look easy. There is one particular video doing the rounds online at the moment, which shows someone attempting to do a fuel drain on a car, having put in the wrong fuel – in this case petrol in a diesel car. The person in question is using an electric drill to run a small pump with a plastic tube running into the fuel tank and another plastic tube running to a container for the contaminated fuel. The massive risk in this scenario is with the electric drill. When the drill trigger is pressed and the motor is activated, any DIY enthusiast who regularly uses a drill will have noticed the electrical spark that can be seen through the vents on either side of the drill casing. It doesn’t take a scientist to know that sparks and petrol fumes are a recipe for disaster and possible tragedy. Petrol fumes are incredibly flammable and even if great care is taken to seal the fuel tank aperture completely where the tube comes out of it and again to seal the container where the tube goes into it, there is still a significant risk of ignition.

Another case has been recently highlighted in the media concerning a motorist who accidentally filled up an older car with petrol instead of diesel. He then contacted his local mechanic and his breakdown company and was given quotes for removal of the wrong fuel. The motorist then decided that the cost of their services was too high, as the vehicle was not worth very much money, and the waiting time was too long. He made the decision to attempt to do the fuel drain himself at the side of a public road using some rubber tubing and a hand pump. What transpired may have been somewhat unlucky and difficult to foresee but is not entirely surprising. A small amount of contaminated fuel had escaped from the tube that was being used to drain the tank into a bucket and had started to trickle down the side of the kerb near the vehicle. A passer by who was smoking a cigarette and who didn’t realise what the motorist was doing to his vehicle at the side of the road, threw a smouldering dog end into the kerb. This immediately ignited the trickle of fuel which ran back to the car and the still half full fuel tank causing it to explode. Miraculously, no-one was severely injured, but the resulting car fire was a major cause for concern for the businesses adjacent to the vehicle and caused an avoidable call out for the local fire service.

We continue, unfortunately, to hear of similar wrong fuel DIY cases where the outcome was not so lucky for those involved and can only continue to stress how important it is to engage the services of an expert where a vehicle fuel drain is required. We spend thousands of pounds on safety equipment, ongoing training and state of the art wrong fuel removal equipment because that is what the law requires in this industry. Please don’t attempt to save a few quid by doing the fuel drain yourself. There is a chance that you are putting your safety and the safety of others at risk. Call Wrong Fuel Emergency for some sound advice and for safety’s sake.

Be safe!

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