Dear, oh dear. Halfords say that three-hundred thousand vehicles per-year are filled with the wrong type of fuel in the UK.
Dear, oh dear. Halfords say that three-hundred thousand vehicles per-year are filled with the wrong type of fuel in the UK. This equates to one every minute and forty-five seconds. Owners of newer machinery seem most likely to have that “oh oh” moment as fifty-three per-cent of incidents involve vehicles less than four years old. Furthermore, Halfords claim there are more incidents in September and March. Why? Because these are the months new registration plates emerge. These boost sales, of course, so there are more people on the road with unfamiliar cars. There are regional trends too. As such there are more “eeek” moments in Scotland and Yorkshire than other parts of the UK. This is followed by the South West but those in London and the South East are less likely to pump the wrong gas.Paul McClenaghan from Halfords said: “We know how distressing and disruptive mis-fueling can be for motorists but we were unaware of how widespread and costly the problem was until we saw this research. Putting petrol in diesel vehicles is unfortunately very easily done as the unleaded nozzle on the pump fits into the filler neck of the diesel vehicle without any problems. It only takes a momentary distraction or lapse in concentration and the consequences are often costly. The diesel nozzle has a larger diameter so it is more difficult to do the other way around - although some people have managed it." So, what steps can a motorist take if they put the wrong fuel in their car? Step one is to cry like a newborn baby, curse fate, and swear. Step two is to ensure that nobody starts the engine. This is even more important than the bad language. The key should not even be turned to the “accessories” position and this might start a pump that circulates fuel. So, simply place the car into neutral and push it somewhere safe. If it has auto transmission, look for a release button on the gear lever that enables it to move into neutral without engine/electrical power. Then call a recovery company such as The AA or a fuel specialist. Some gas stations have the contact details. The mechanical hero should then drain the fuel, clean the system, and install new filters if required. However, if the engine has been started or the work cannot be completed on sight the car will need to be taken to a garage. Repair costs vary according to the type of vehicle, whether its engine has been started, and the hourly rate of the hired help. There is the price of the wasted fuel too. However, expect to pay a few hundred pounds for a straightforward drain and clean. This could rise to several thousand pounds if the engine has been started. Why? Because expensive components such as the fuel pump might have been damaged. Luckily these costs can be recovered from some insurance companies. Not all, though. As such, according to insurance specialist Confused.com, LV and John Lewis protect motorists against mis-fueling as standard whereas other providers cover it only as a cost option. It is clearly worth considering this protection especially for those that swap between petrol/diesel cars. But my preference is to avoid that “oh help” moment. Fortunately, new technology makes this easier. The FuelSure system, for starters, prevents petrol nozzles fitting diesels. How? Courtesy of a replacement cap that can only be opened with a diesel pump. Installation only takes moments. Motorists can also have an audible warning device. As such, when the fuel flap is open the phrase “stop diesel remember diesel” rings across the forecourt. Better than “boo-hoo”, I reckon. Furthermore, some new cars such as the Ford Fiesta have systems that prevent them swallowing the wrong gas. I wonder which fuel my car prefers?