Ever experienced that feeling when your vehicle starts shutting down shortly after you filled up with fuel? That brief moment when you are not certain whether you instructed the fuel attended correctly on whether to fill up with fuel or diesel or remembering that you were too distracted to take notice…
We asked an expert to offer some clarity on why misfuelling is so harmful to your vehicle:
What is the bigger risk – adding petrol to a diesel tank or diesel to a petrol tank…and why?
Petrol into a diesel tank. Petrol acts as a solvent whereas Diesel is a lubricant. Since petrol is much more volatile than diesel pre detonation can also occur.
Which vehicle components may be harmed by driving with the wrong type of fuel?
Fuel supply/injection system including fuel pumps, injectors.
What will you experience as a driver to alert you as you drive off that something is not right?
Possible engine noise and loss of power.
What do you need to do next?
What should you avoid doing?
Do not attempt the restart.
Are there any specific or additional risks to having the vehicle privately towed to the nearest service station?
If the vehicle is under warranty any repair work must be carried out by the OE [Original Equipment Manufacturer] so should rather be towed there after notifying the responsible fuel station. However most fuel stations indemnify themselves against this issue and often no recourse is available. If a vehicle is out of warranty it could be towed to the fuel station if they have a workshop on site, but again it may be better to take it to an independent workshop and rather notify the fuel station of the situation.
How should the engine and tank be dealt with after such an unfortunate event – what is the process that will occur and how long does this usually take?
Complete flush of the fuel system including removing and cleaning the tank. Prolonged exposure could result in severe component damage.
What do you recommend vehicle owners to do to avoid getting the wrong fuel in the tank?
Concentrate at the fuel pump. It’s not a good time to get distracted.
[A word of appreciation to Barloworld Transport for the assistance received]