Down the drain: wrong fuel costs diesel drivers millions

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Diesel drivers are wasting millions of dollars every year by mistakenly filling their cars with the wrong fuel.

The claim was made by Wrong Fuel Rescue, which describes itself as “Australia’s leading specialist in misfuelling, helping thousands of motorists with this problem each year”.

Wrong Fuel Rescue founder Yan Van De Velde said: “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 up.

“Statistics show men are actually the worst offenders for misfuelling. They make up about 80 per cent of the rescues every day.”

Most common mistake

Mr Van De Velde says the most common mistake is people putting petrol into a diesel car.

“This accounts for 90 per cent of mix-ups,” he said. “The nozzle for diesel won’t fit in a petrol car, making this less common”, he said.

“You can potentially ruin a car by misfuelling. But in most cases attended by Wrong Fuel Rescue the vehicle can be saved.”

‘Don’t start your car’

Petrol has the potential to cause serious damage to the fuel-injection system and the engine. Warranties don’t cover this damage, warns Mr Van De Velde, and insurance policies may not provide cover for the mistake.

“If you do realise you’ve put the wrong fuel in the tank, don’t start your car,” he said. “If you’ve already started driving, stop as soon as is safe. The further the wrong fuel moves along your fuel system, the increased potential for a more expensive repair bill.”

Wrong Fuel Rescue’s top tips for reducing your chance of misfuelling

  1. Be wary when you switch between brands that use different hose/nozzle colours.
  2. It’s easy to forget which car you’re filling if you swap cars (using different fuel) at home or work. Always double check.
  3. Avoid conversations with passengers while filling up, as this can be a major distraction.
  4. Slow down if you’re in a hurry or running late.