Most 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.