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Misfuelling

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARecently Doctor Diesel answered, in some depth, a reader letter regarding the dangers and emergency procedures if you put petrol in your diesel car’s tank. You need help from somebody – a garage, preferably a franchised garage, or other experts, like the AA or RAC, who can deal with your situation in a professional manner. Here are some more details:

RAC has a fleet of 25 specialist Fuel Patrol vehicles which have to date helped 37,000 drivers who misfuelled. Up to 95 per cent of these incidents relate to petrol being put into diesel cars. RAC misfuelling manager Simon Harvey says: “Nine months after launch in 2010 we had 25 vehicles in operation, such was the demand. We have had fewer calls in 2012, indicating that drivers are possibly finding ways of ensuring they don’t put the wrong fuel in their vehicles.”

Misfuelling is not covered by RAC member breakdown entitlement. The tank draining service costs £205 to members and £240 to non-members. This includes call-out, draining, flushing the system with clean fuel, and the use of fuel additives to stop contaminated fuel clinging to the engine. The whole process, after Patrol arrival, takes around 45 minutes to complete and all contaminated fuel is sent to a fuel supplier for recycling. RAC says motorists can eradicate the risk of misfuelling with FuelSure, a device designed to prevent this costly blunder by preventing the insertion of the smaller diameter petrol pump nozzle into a diesel tank. FuelSure, brainchild of inventor, engineer and RAC Patrolman Phil Cartwright, is available from the RAC webshop, RAC Patrols, and recovery specialists for £29.95.

The AA has over fifty Fuel-Assist patrols that perform a similar tank draining function, at a cost to AA members of £150 (a temporary special offer – so if you’re going to do it, do it now, before the cost rises!) and £300 to non-members. Similar general principles apply to those used by RAC.

Prevention is way better than cure, which can be extremely costly. The RAC and the AA cannot always prevent serious engine damage with their draining service – sometimes even if the ignition has only been turned on, and normally always if the engine has been started. So something like the RAC FuelSure, Ford’s Misfuelling prevention device, SoloDiesel, Dieselhead or other devices that are on offer to prevent misfuelling are the only safe bets.

Victor Harman

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