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!

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!

Car Auction Buyers – Beware of Wrong Fuel Symptoms

Here’s an interesting situation. We recently attended a wrong fuel incident at a client’s home after he had become suspicious that a car he bought at auction may have had the wrong fuel put into it. The vehicle in question was a 4 year old diesel Ford Mondeo which had been picked up for a bargain price at the auction where it was sold as “in full working order”. Our client did have an opportunity to inspect the vehicle before the auction and even started the car, which it did quite happily. He picked the car up after putting in the winning bid and then drove it twenty miles to his home, without incident. The trip had given the car an opportunity to warm up and when our client came back out to the car a short while later to run an errand, he noticed that the car had trouble starting. He had a look under the bonnet and checked for something obvious but noticed nothing especially unusual. Once he had got the car running again, he took the car on a short run and was certain that the car engine was getting more noisy under acceleration than when he had driven it back from the auction. He also noticed that the exhaust was smokey although this was nothing too unusual for a diesel car that has not been driven for a while.

Over the next few days these symptoms started to worsen and our client took his vehicle to a friend who was a knowledgeable mechanic. After scratching his head for a while over the problem, the mechanic drew the conclusion that the car had had the wrong fuel put into it and it had been driven with the wrong fuel, namely petrol, mixed into the diesel. This was the only obvious answer that he could come up with as the symptoms closely matched those of a car that he had dealt with a short while ago. In order to obtain more definitive proof that this was indeed the case, the mechanic, as a favour to his friend, inspected the injectors and found that they had an unusual amount of swarf in them. These tiny metal particles in the fuel are a result of a reduction in lubrication of the fuel system components, caused by the petrol diluting the lubrication properties of diesel.

Armed with this evidence, our client called us for our advice. We recommended that in the first instance, he should speak to the auction house and ask for his money back. As of the 1st of October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act says that you can reject a second hand car and get a full refund within 30 days of the purchase if the car is deemed to be unfit for purpose or not as described. The car did not have a high mileage and would not normally have been expected to display any of the symptoms described, and so our client was able to get his money back.

If you have bought a second hand car from an auction or from a dealer and you feel that the car may be displaying the above symptoms or something similar, please speak to one of our experts for advice. We deal with wrong fuel problems day in and day out and our experts are more than just familiar with what happens to a car which has been running with the wrong fuel in the tank, mixed in with the right fuel. Don’t ignore a potential problem until it’s too late.

Wrong Fuel Emergency – Don’t drive tired!

We’ve all seen those harrowing adverts on the TV about not driving when you’re tired. All sorts of things can go wrong, the very worst of which is having an accident on the motorway. With everyone leading more and more hectic and stressful lives, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to be off on their morning commute at 6 in the morning and then driving home in the dark 12 or 14 hours later. We’ve had an alarming increase over the last couple of years in the number of cases where motorists have pulled into the motorway services and have been so tired that they couldn’t focus properly whilst refuelling and have managed to put the wrong fuel into their cars. The worrying thing is, that they’re on the road at all. The number of people taking big risks in order to keep their jobs going or to be there with their family as quickly as possible, is increasing all the time. As the saying goes, you’re no good to anyone if you’re in hospital after an accident.

Our engineers have reported having arrived at the scene of a wrong fuel incident to find that the client is so exhausted that they are twice as badly affected by the trauma of having put petrol in a diesel car. When you’re too tired to think straight, it’s hard to consider what to do for the best. We usually get the call from a friend or relative in these cases, or even someone from the forecourt who has offered some sound advice to the motorist.

The vast majority of motorists are well aware of the perils of driving whilst tired but we still do it. Opening the windows to let in the cold air or turning up the tunes just doesn’t do it sometimes. What does help is a power nap. You’d be amazed what a 15 minute nap will do for you. If you’re worried about how drowsy you’re feeling and you’re trying to think of ways to stay awake then you would be much better off just pulling into the motorway services car park, find a quiet corner and take a nap. Pop your phone alarm on if you’re worried about napping for too long. When you’re feeling a little fresher, then you can fill up and you’re much less likely to be putting in the wrong fuel type and much less likely to be involved in an accident.

Drive safely!