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A customer who has misfuelled & driven 10 miles

One of our engineers was called out to a customer who had misfuelled their vehicle by putting petrol in their diesel tank. Below is the great customer feedback we received from another satisfied customer. Our engineer was able to save the customer hundreds, if not thousands on the advice given by his local garage.

Customer feedback:

I thought my vehicle was not repairable as I had travelled over 10 miles with petrol in my diesel tank when it ground to a halt. My garage back home told me it would be an engine strip down and would cost a lot of money. However your chap did an unbelievable job. He sucked out 99.9% of the contaminated fuel, filled up with 5 litres of diesel and bingo my car started again. Even better than that. As the petrol has basically cleaned the entire inside of my engine, I would say my car is now running better than ever. I can not thank your service enough. It has saved me a lot of money. Thank you!

If you’ve misfuelled contact an expert!misfuelled

The above situation shows that even if you have misfuelled your vehicles tank (in this case petrol in a diesel tank) and have driven you vehicle for a short distance, the situation may be able to be rectified without expensive repair bills.

We ALWAYS recommend seeking expert advice from a fuel technician if you have had an incident where you’ve misfuelled your vehicle. Your vehicles tank and fuel system may be able to be drained, flushed and have the correct fuel added with no further consequences or costs.

For further information on misfuelling with the wrong fuel, whether you’ve put petrol in a diesel car or diesel in a petrol car, check out our guides. The guides give you a full breakdown on different situations and what are the best course of actions to prevent any damage or possible further damage to your vehicles engine if you’ve misfuelled.


Misfuelling a Ford Focus – A satisfied customer

On the 5th of September Auto Fuel Fix were called out to a misfuelling incident where Marion R had put petrol in a diesel Ford Focus in Oxford.

We’re always proud of our excellent customer service and were glad to receive this thankyou email from Marion:misfeuelling a Ford Focus

“I couldn’t have asked for a more efficient, expert and reassuring service from the guys at Fuelfix, from the first phone call to the car being back on the road, and sounding as good as it did before my misfuelling event. We’d just spent a small fortune on 4 new fuel injectors two days previously and I had visions of having ruined the whole system!

So, thank you. I hope I don’t have to use your services again, but for those friends to whom I can admit my error, I’ll tell them about AutoFuelFix. When I filled up nearby at BP, I noticed its Ultimate diesel has a blue nozzle, as does the Esso Super Unleaded, -but still no excuse really….

My friend took a photo – see attached. Unfortunately it’s not of Steve in action, but you might like the files anyway.

Kind regards

Marion”

Auto Fuel Fix provide a 24hr misfuelling recovery service across the United Kingdom. We always deliver a professional service, with our expert engineers in roadside fuel drainage. We realise that doing the required job of rectifying the misfuelling event is only part of the job, our engineers reassure our clients and give any further advice if required to ensure there is no damage to their engine. Marion is just one of our many satisfied clients who we are called out to on a daily basis. To ensure you have your vehicles tank and fuel system drained correctly after misfuelling, Auto Fuel Fix recommend always seeking the advice and services of a reputable fuel drainage company.

For more information on misfuelling, check out our wrong fuel ultimate guide.


Car Tax Bands & Dirty Diesel Tax

Car tax bands (also referred to as road tax and formerly known as Vehcle Excise duty) are currently based on your vehicles carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Cars and light goods vehicles registered before March 2001 have their vehicle tax rates based on the size of the engine.car tax bands

Vehicle tax bands pre March 2001

  • Vehicles up to 1549cc – 6 months £79.75 / 12 months £145
  • Vehicles over 1549cc – 6 months £126.50 / 12 months £230

With the ever growing awareness of the enviromental impact of vehicle CO2 emissions on the environment, car tax bands were divided into thirteen categories based on the level of CO2 emissions from the vehicle. The vehicle tax bands have been differentiated by letter, with tax band A being the lowest emission vehicles with the lowest  yearly tax rate. Tax band M refers to the highest level of tax with a vehicles emissions over 255 g/km of CO2 emissions. So your choice of vehicle can make a big differnce to your yearly motoring costs depending on its car tax band.

New vehicle road tax rates

All new vehicles with a tax band of A to D will enjoy a zero tax rate for the first year the vehicle is on the road. Vehicles in the tax bands E to G will pay the same tax rate for their first year on the road as their standard annual road tax. For all vehicles which are purchased in tax band categories H to M, you will be paying more for your first years road tax than your standard yearly road tax which it will reduce back to for year 2 and subsequent years after that.

Electric, alternative fuelled cars, hybrids and LPG vehicles can also enjoy a £10 reduction on both the first years road tax and the standard yearly rate thereafter.

Vehicle tax bands since March 1st 2001

VED Band Vehicle CO2 Emissions Standard rate Petrol/Diesel First year rate Petrol/Diesel Standard rate Green car First year rate Green car
A Up to 11g/km £0 £0 £0 £0
B 101 – 110g/km £20 £0 £10 £0
C 111-120g/km £30 £0 £20 £0
D 121-130g/km £110 £0 £100 £0
E 131-140g/km £130 £130 £120 £120
F 141-150g/km £145 £145 £135 £135
G 151-165g/km £180 £180 £170 £170
H 166-175g/km £205 £290 £195 £280
I 176-185g/km £225 £345 £215 £335
J 186-200g/km £265 £485 £255 £475
K 201-225g/km £285 £635 £275 £625
L 226-255g/km £485 £860 £475 £850
M Over 255g/km £500 £1090 £490 £1080

Tax disc abolition

The law is changing in 2014 to reduce the administration costs associated with vehicle tax. From the 1st October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer be issued or required to be displayed in the vehicle windscreen. The tax disc has been a familiar site on the UK’s roads with the first vehicle tax disc being issued on 1st January 1921.

With the advancements in technology including automatic number plate readers and with the readily available database to the police, the tax disc is no longer required to be displayed in vehicles’ windows. Motorists will also have the option to pay their road tax by direct debit annually, biannually or monthly. Monthly and biannually payments will see a surcharge of 5% which is half of the previous surcharge for biannual payments.

Dirty diesel tax for UK citiesdirty diesel city tax

With the ever growing popularity of diesel cars (a nearly four fold increase between 2000 to 2014 with 11 million on now on the road), introducing the proposed £10 charge for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) would affect a large amount of UK drivers who wish to drive into London and other major cities if they follow suit.

What is this new proposed city diesel tax for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), how does it work?

The plans are still in the early stages, but early signs are that from 2020 Boris Johnson would like to see all diesel and petrol cars registered before 2006 paying an extra £10 to drive into central London on top of the excisitng congestion charge. Only vehicles that meet Euro 6 emissions standard would be exempt from the charge. Check out the full list of the Euro rating standards on emissions. Boris Johnson is outlaying plans for an “air quality manifesto” to bring down London’s air polution levels to within two thirds of the way down towards the limits set by the EU.

Car tax bands – consider when purchasing

When purchasing a new vehicle that’s been registered after March 2001, considering the vehicles emissions can make a massive difference to your yearly running costs. A vehicle with emissions up to 100g/km CO2 will enjoy road tax free motoring, whilst if you purchase a vehicle at the other end of the emission scale with over 255g/km CO2, you can expect a £500 a year road tax bill, this equates to an additonal £41.67 per month on top of your monthly fuel bill, which can make a quite a difference to your monthly expenses! The full car tax bands table can be found below.

 


Lemans trip finds water in a bikes petrol tank

Yes this really happened, water accidentally put into a petrol tank, AFF attended a very concerned 30 year old man monday night who’d arrived at Dover by ferry and couldn’t get his Suzuki SV650 to start.

suzuki SV650 water in petrol tank

Suzuki-SV650

As the story unravelled it became clear that he’d passed his full bike test only one month ago and had set out to ride from his home in Manchester to Germany and through France, the final destination being the 24h Le Mans. He wasn’t alone in his travels – he’d met up with friends during the French leg of his journey who were also going to Le Mans.

These guys were in vans though, with pit bikes that they intended to use to move around the site of the race.. They’d had a great experience and were near the ferry on their way home when our motorcyclist realised he was very low on fuel. One of his friends in the van offered to provide 5 litres from a green plastic jerry can – this was gladly accepted. The problem was discovered the other side of the channel when the bike wouldn’t restart. The rider guessed the jerry can had been filled with diesel so found AFF’s number on a Google search and, once he’d called the 24/7 response line, an engineer was on scene 75 minutes later.

There was confusion for a short while – upon dipping the bikes tank our engineer expected to find thick diesel in place of petrol, but instead there was no odour or colour to the fluid at all… He bravely dabbed his tongue with the liquid – it then became apparent that the bike had been fed 5 litres of water into the petrol tank! No surprise it wouldn’t go!! The engineer got to work, and once he fully drained the tank and flushed the fuel system with unleaded the bike choked a little before restarting – the owner was ecstatic! Without our assistance he would have been sat in the crew cab of a recovery truck going home through the night and having to wait for his bike dealer to give him the bad news the following day..

SO the moral of the story is ALWAYS CHECK what you’re putting into your petrol tank, especially if it’s from an unknown source. By simply pouring a cup full of the contents from the jerry can into a container would have shown them, it in fact was water and would have stopped water being put into the petrol tank.


Car fuel efficiency tips

With the ever rising cost of petrol and diesel, making sure you get the most miles for your money and the maximum fuel efficiency has never been so important. So along side finding the best priced fuel in your area, the following tips will help you go further.

1. Optimum pressure in your tyres – Up to 3%

Check car tyre pressures

Check car tyre pressures

If your tyres are under inflated it increases your vehicles drag, this in turn means you will decrease your MPG (miles Per Gallon). Check your tyres reguarly to ensure you have optimum pressure, especially before a long journey.

2. Remove your roof rack – Up to 2%

Your roof rack, even when empty will interfere with your cars aerodynamics, causing more wind resistance and drag. This in turn will mean your engine will have to work harder and be less efficient. So if you’re not using it and don’t need it, remove it, it will save you money!

3. Close windows at higher speeds – Up to 4%

When you’re travelling around at 40mph or less it is advisable to drive (if required) with your windows down and your air conditioning off. At low speeds there is less aerodynamic drag making it more cost effective than having your windows up and air conditioning on. This drag is exponential so at 70pmh the drag is 4 times more thasn at 35mph, making this speed more efficient to have the windows up and air conditioning on (air conditioning covered in next chapter).

4. Air conditioning turned off at low speeds – Up to 8%

Switch of air conditioning

Switch off air conditioning at low speeds

When you’re driving on roads at 40pmh or less, it is advisiable to have your air conditioning off and your windows down. At low speeds your vehicles engine isn’t working particuarly hard and switching the air conditioning on will increase the load on the engine, thus decreasing its fuel efficiency. At higher speeds your cars engine is already working hard enough to generate enough power for your air conditioning and accessories without any additional power being needed to be produced.

5. Declutter your car – Up to 2%

Removing any items from your car that may not be required such as unrequired items for your boot or cabin, will make your vehicle lighter. A lighter car requires less effort to accelerate and thus saves you fuel.

6. Don’t fill your tank – Up to 1%

When you fill your tank to its capacity, you’re also filling up a large space with extra weight. By filling your vehicles tank with fuel to only 1/2 or 3/4 full, you’re saving on the weight you will be carrying around, making it more fuel efficient.

7. Drive more efficiently

a. Gradual acceleration

Rather than accelerating hard with a high fuel flow rate to get your car up to speed, accelerating gradually with low revs and less power can save fuel.

b. Use correct gears

Always drive in the most fuel effieient gear for the speed you are driving. Keeping your vehicle at its optimum revs will increase fuel efficiency and make for a smoother ride.

c. Drive to traffic conditions

By taking your foot off the accelerator, reading the road ahead and letting your car slow down under its own momentum, your car is using less fuel.

8. Filling up at night?

You may have heard this and thought it might be an urban myth, but if you fill up when it’s cold you do get slightly more fuel for your money, we’re only talking pennies though.

9. Using optimum fuel?

In general, for the extra cost of the premium fuels such as Shell Optimax over their standard fuel, it’s not worth using it on a regular basis. But to keep your cars engines fuel efficiency at its optimum, using (according to the AA) 3 tanks full of optimum fuel in a row and then going back to standard fuel will help keep the engine efficient.

 


Car manufacturers MPG claims, why can’t we achieve them?

So no matter what vehicle make or model you buy, or if its petrol or diesel, you will no doubt know that it is nearly impossible to reach the figures quoted by the manufacturer for its Miles Per Gallon (MPG). So how do manufacturers come to their figures and why are they allowed to advertise this, wehn in the real World you’re never going to actually see those figures claimed.

Fuel economy is a high deciding factor when choosing your next vehicle, this can have a major impact on your yearly motoring costs. The average motorist is reported to do an average of 12,000 miles per year in their vehicle, if this is a diesel car with an average price at the pump of £1.42 per litre and a claimed MPG from the manufacturer of 62mpg, it would cost you £1038.89 in diesel. If you saw an average of 48mpg for your vehicle it would then cost you £1341.90 for the year, that’s an increase in cost of £303.01 (that is assuming the price remains the same throughout the year for the diesel). This is a considerable difference over a typicals years motoring.MPG comparison

So how does the manufacturer get away with quoting these seemingly inflated MPG figures? All vehicle MPG figures are governed by the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), these official figures are obtained by strict test guidelines and these are the fonly figures that the manufacturers are allowed to quote.

The problem with these tests is that they are carried out in exact ‘labratory’ conditions. The vehicle is subject to tests with all the usual electrial equipment turned off (lights, radio, air conditioning), on a flat rolling road and at a controlled ambient temperature.

The eatra-urban results for example, though these results are obtained with the vehicle accelerating and decelerating, this is done at a very slow rate, a lot slower than normal and over a very short distance (accelerating to 9mph in 4 seconds and over only 4.3miles). If you don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, you try doing that on the road and you’ll see just how slow that actually is.

The Urban figures are obtained over an even shorter distance of just 2.5miles. So baring all these factors in mind, you cas see why it’s near on impossible to get the manufacturers claimed MPG.

When buying a brand new vehicle you may even see an even lower MPG until after the initial 12,000 miles, as the engine will ‘loosen up’ and then could start giving you a higher MPG. If your vehicle has already ‘loosened up’, a fair bet would be to reduce any claimed MPG by the manufacturer by 10% to get nearer the actual MPG under normal driving conditions.

So until the rules are changed and the manufacturers start publishing real life MPG figures based on driving the vehicle in the real World in real conditions, we will always see what seem like inflated MPG claims. Lets hope the changes are made sooner rather than later and we can truly budget for the true MPG when buying a new car.

 


Diesel additives, Are they worth it?

There are many different fuel additives on the market, ones designed specifically for both petrol and diesel engines, but are the worth it, will you really see the benefits on both performance and your pocket?

Do they improve milage?

Additives have been reported to improve milage when using a standard base fuel over the more expensive diesel fuels that come pre-loaded with various additives. Additives can increase the British Thermal Unit (BTU) which could result in greater milage and performance per tank. SO if this is the case, does it work out more cost effective to buy the additive and use the base diesel, or are you better off going for the highg quality more expensive diesel that already has the additives?

The only way you can figure this out is to take the price it would cost your for a fuel tank of standard diesel compared to the performance diesel with the additives, what extra would it cost? Then look at the cost of the additive and how many tanks of diesel it would cover, split this across the tanks and add it to the base fuels price and voila, you have your price comparison. It may also be worth looking at the actual milage you get per the standard tank with the additive added versus the performance diesel with the pre-added additives.

Cleans the engine and better for the environment?

Diesel fuel can cause the build up of carbon deposits in various areas of the engine, especially in the diesel injectors. Additives do help reduce these deposits, allowing a better fuel flow which could help maintain the engines original fuel efficency. The additives can help cause a more complete combustion in the engine and thus help result in lower emissions, a ‘cleaner’ running vehicle.

Summary

Fuel additives in some cases may see you gain performance and MPG when using base diesel, though using the performance diesel may give you the same effect. Using a good diesel additive on an aging engine may remove build up of carbon deposits initially and restore some performance, but in some cases a trip to a mechanic may be needed to solve any undelying problems.

The only way to really find out if a good quality additive will give your engine benefits is to try it and see if you get any gains, no two circumstances are ever the same.


Supermarket fuel Vs the branded fuel, What’s the difference?

This is a subject that has been discussed on a regular basis throughout motoring forums, whether you get inferior fuel from a supermarket garage compared to the likes of a Shell, BP or Esso petrol stations.

All fuels that are sold in the UK, Petrol or Diesel, will conform to the relevant British Standards. What this means to the general user is that they should all work generally the same way and using the same fuel type from any garage should not cause any issues with your vehicle.Supermarket Vs branded fuels

All petrol stations use a standard ‘base’ fuel which is supplied from the same refineries across the UK no matter what petrol pump it will end up being pumped from into your tank. The only difference is, the various additives that the different companies add to their fuel before it ends up in your tank. Baring this in mind, it could be the possible reason why some drivers report that their car runs better on some garage fuels over others.

So are Supermarket fuels poorer quality?

The simple answer is in general NO, the fuel all (as mentioned in the above paragraph) comes from the same refineries. BUT the different fuel outlets whether it be a branded filling station or a supermarket filling station, will define a minimum performance level required from the fuel, which results in different levels & types of additives added to the ‘base’ fuel. These additivies can effect the MPG and general running of the vehicle that some drivers may experience more extremely than others, in some cases you may not even notice any difference at all.

Conclusion

Depending on what type of vehicle you are driving, whether it’s been tuned or has a standard map, you may notice differences between using different filling stations, even between the branded ones. BUT the fuel is all from the same refineries which all meets the Britsh Standards, so you can use any to fill up your vehicle with petrol or diesel, knowing it’s all of the same ‘base’ fuel.

 

 


Petrol vs diesel – which is best?

So you’re going to buy a new car, which should it be, petrol vs diesel which should you choose?
With greater fuel economy and lower emissions resulting in lower car tax. diesels have been considered to be the best choice when it comes to running costs. However diesel versions of the same make and model car tend to be more expensive than their petrol counterparts. There has also been a large increase in the economy of petrol engines, this together with cheaper fuel prices on petrol over diesel at the pumps, are diesels still the economical choice?
Then there is the residual value of petrol compared to diesel cars, the diesel versions generally hold their value better than the petrol version, due to the better fuel economy and cheaper road tax. The servicing costs are very similar with either petrol or diesel and with the development of quieter diesel engines, sometimes the rev counter is the only sign that you’re in a diesel and not a petrol car.


Petrol vs diesel, what else to consider


Diesel engines have more torque, which is better for towing and for overtaking at low revs.
Modern diesel cars now also come with diesel particulate filters that trap the soot and black emissions that are usually associated with diesel cars, making them more enviromentally friendly.

So still unsure what’s best?

There are many other variables on which car would be the best choice for your motoring needs, annual milage, the residual value, insurance costs and so on, these can vary depending on the make and model of the car you are looking at buying.
Once you’ve decided on the car model you are looking at buying, you can then compare the price and residual value of the diesel vs petrol, the mpg, road tax and insurance. With this information you can then enter your annual milage into this petrol bill calculator to see your yearly running costs.
Put this yearly cost with all the other information and you have a good idea on the cost of running either a petrol or diesel version of your desired car per year.


Diesel in petrol, signs & possible damage

So you think you may have put diesel in your petrol car, what does this mean for your car?
The good news is that putting diesel in a petrol engine should not cause any long term and expensive damage to your car, even if you have driven the car with a large amount of the wrong fuel in the tank.

What are the signs of diesel in petrol

The common signs of having your petrol contaminated with diesel is that the engine may start misfiring, it won’t want to start, the engine can cut out or you may have a smoky exhaust when driving. If you have any of these symptoms listed and think you may have put diesel in a petrol, STOP DRIVING when it is safe to do so and switch off your engine. This will avoid any further contamination to your engine with the diesel residue.

Possible damage

The good news is that putting diesel in a petrol is far less serious than if you were to put petrol in diesel. You are unlikely to have done any permanent damage to your engine or fuel system. A drain of your fuel tank and a flush of your fuel system by a fuel drainage specialist such as Auto Fuel fix should see you back on your way with no long term damage to your car.

Different amounts of diesel

Check out the Auto Fuel Fix diesel in a petrol guide for diesel in petrol symptoms, possible damage and what you should do if you think you have misfuelled. This guide gives you information on the best course of action depending on how much diesel you’ve put in your petrol car, whether you have driven your car and technical advice & recommendations for after you have had the contaminated fuel drained.


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