Misfuelling: A Customer’s Experience

September 10th, 2018 – Accidentally put petrol in my VW instead of Diesel

The following outlines my tale of woes about using the wrong fuel. This piece is all about helping you avoid the same problem I went through so that you save yourself the hassle of having to run up and down looking for a solution.

On the day in question, I drove the VW Passat to work as I always do. The car is equipped with a 2-liter turbo diesel engine, and it is the only car I use to go to work and run errands as well.

While I was in driving the car to work, I saw the low fuel warning light come on, and though I could have easily made it work with the remaining fuel, I noticed that the fuel pump at the next turn didn’t have a queue, and with the notion that I might find a queue later in the evening when going back home, I decided to fuel up. And since I had various errands to run after work, I thought it would be a good idea to fuel up before I go to work.

I pulled at the pump and remembered going through the various tasks in my head, so I wasn’t really concentrating on putting in the fuel. Once I had filled the tank, I got back into the car and started the engine. It was smooth at first, but a few meters from the pump it sounded rough and then as I drove towards the exit the car stalled without warning and the check engine light came on.

I was confused at first, and I thought the car had an issue. I called my mechanic who asked me what happened right before the engine stalled, and I told him I had filled the tank with fuel. He asked me whether I had put petrol in diesel car; this is when it dawned on me that I had just filled my tank with the wrong type of fuel.

To make the situation worse, my car was blocking the exit of the fuel station, and there was a line of motorists hooting looking for a way to drive out of the station. Luckily the station attendant came over and helped me push the vehicle to a safe spot just within the station.

I asked my mechanic what to do next, and he told me that I had to contact a fuel removal service, of which he didn’t know any in the area. Fortunately, one of the motorists heard my plight and came and gave me a card. Within minutes an engineer had arrived and started working on the issue.

Here are a few lessons I learned from this experience.

You Need an Expert

From the look of things, misfueling your car needs an expert to help you handle the issue. Don’t use just any engineer to do the task. This means you need to make sure you work with someone that has a positive reputation within the industry and who knows what to do.

Secondly, you need to work with a company that is available. Some companies have just a few engineers who are always on the road which means that you might sit the whole night waiting for an engineer to come and assist you. The response time matters a lot because you need to be on your way in the shortest time possible.

Don’t Panic

When this happens to many people, they panic, and they end up trying to drive the car to the next auto repair shop. This is a huge mistake. What you need to do when this happens is to drive the car to the nearest safe spot and then park it. Switch off the ignition so that the fuel doesn’t flow around the engine.

You also need to spot the signs of misfuelling. These include:

    • An obvious sign is that you have used petrol instead of diesel.
    • Smoke billowing from your exhaust pipe.
    • Your car misfires, and finally stalls.
    • If you have run for long, the car won’t start on the next attempt.

Once you spot the signs, you need to call in the fuel removal company so that they send an engineer over to help you with the problem.

You don’t need to continue driving the vehicle since this makes the problem worse and damages the engine.

The Process

The right engineer takes you through the process of cleaning the fuel tank and pump. He explains what he will do and tells you why he does it. He comes with the right equipment to remove the oil, and he also tells you how long the whole process takes so that you can reschedule an appointment or call into work and explain the situation.

The cost will depend on how long you drove the car before you realised your mistake. This means that if you drove the car for a short period, then the damage won’t be as pronounced as when you drove it for a long time. The cost also depends on the parts that were affected and if they need to be replaced or not.

The process takes a short time, and within half an hour I was on my way, my car running the way I was used to. The engineer explained to me in detail what happens when you put the wrong fuel, especially petrol in a diesel tank. It is known that diesel uses lubricants to make the components work when you use petrol, you eliminate the lubricant, which means the components rub against each other and end up getting spoilt.

In Closing

Stuff happens, and when it happens, you need to make sure you get the right person to handle it. When I misfuelled my car, I was initially terrified and thought that was the end of my engine, but the right engineer came and worked on the issue and in a few minutes I was on my way to work.