I honestly don’t know how this happens, putting petrol into a diesel car or vice versa is the ultimate cardinal car sin in my mind. But it’s a problem that happens thousands of times a year. This is despite warning labels on or near the fuel flap, the fact diesel engines have a distinctive clatter and you’d hope some knowledge of the vehicle you’re driving.
But let’s provide a bit of slack to the people committing these atrocities with these tentative excuses…
Perhaps it’s a work vehicle that you’re unfamiliar with, your family may own a petrol and diesel car and you simply stuffed up or were in a rush with a row of screaming kids in the back.
The fact a petrol nozzle also fits into a diesel filler neck doesn’t help. Putting diesel into a petrol car is much harder, with the nozzle itself being a different size with an added latch at the bowser that has warnings all over it before it can be released. But then again you may have used a jerry can with the wrong fuel in it.
Mistakes happen I guess, but what can you actually do in such circumstances? Well a company called Wrong Fuel Rescue can help save the day before you drive off, causing catastrophic engine damage. Carnage not covered by warranty.
They provide the equivalent of an NRMA roadside service, a mobile knight in shining armour will come to you and rectify the problem within an hour. The team will arrive, drain and flush the vehicles system and see you on your merry but remorseful way.
“There’s usually a combination of reasons for someone to make the simple mistake of putting wrong fuel in their car. Rushing, tiredness, unfamiliarity of a vehicle especially if it’s a work car and distractions at the pump tend to be the most common reasons behind the mix ups.”
“The most common case, accounting for 90% of mix ups, is people putting petrol into a diesel car as the petrol nozzle fits into the fuel filler neck. The nozzle for diesel won’t fit in a petrol car making this less common”, said Yan Van De Velde, Founder, Wrong Fuel Rescue.
The company kicked off in 2015 and now has a staff of around 20. Five capital cities are covered including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. There is a flat call out fee of $395 inclusive of GST. This includes all labour and a scan of your cars onboard software to suss out any potential lingering errors. There is an additional case by case charge for disposal of the contaminated fuel.
They come to the roadside, petrol station and a home address. The latter you’d think would be a lost cause given you’d driven the vehicle some distance. However, Yan Van De Velde told EFTM that driving off may not necessarily mean game over. “About 50 per cent of the cases we go to involve the customer diving away, people don’t understand the problem can often be fixed without going to a repair shop that undertakes repairs you can’t see and charges ridiculous costs.”
The company also provides a “No start, no fee” guarantee and claims a 99.9 per cent success rate. Interestingly Van also added “We are also a helpline, one that could save you thousands of dollars, giving you advice when it comes to handling your dealer plus insurance company”
Wrong Fuel Rescue suggests the following tips to help avoid such this kind of faux pas.
- Be wary when you switch between brands that use different hose/nozzle colours.
- It’s easy to forget which car you’re filling if you swap cars (using different fuel) at home or work, so always double check
- Stop conversations with passengers while filling up, as this can be a major distraction
- Slow down if you are in a hurry or running late.
Now don’t go blaming the misses because according to Wrong Fuel Rescue men account for up to 80 per cent of the rescues they attend each day!