Vehicle breakdown is inevitable and over the past few years, with the increasing number of cars, vehicle breakdown has increased manifold. While the causes like tyre puncture, empty fuel and accidents have always been there, wrong fuelling has emerged as a major contributor to the vehicle breakdown in recent times. But why a sudden jump in such cases and what all can be done in such scenario, let's find in our DIY feature article.
What is wrong-fuelling?
As the name suggests, wrong-fuelling means filling your car with the wrong fuel. The problem arises when you fill your petrol car with diesel fuel or a diesel car with petrol fuel. This problem is most common with the first-time drivers who are not aware of fuel type or when you are travelling, since language is a barrier in many places.
How big is the problem?
Wrong fuelling is a big nuisance and unlike other breakdown causes like flat tyre or empty fuel, mis-fuelling requires specialized hands and you alone can't complete the task. Secondly, it directly affects the engine life and can cause serious irreparable damage to your car's engine. There are two types of mis-fueling -
1. Petrol in Diesel vehicle - The engine can sustain a few kilometres of driving
2. Diesel in Petrol vehicle - The engine can be damaged within seconds of vehicle start.
What to do?
No matter how unfortunate it is, but wrong-fuelling is a common occurrence now-a-days. So what can be done in a situation when your vehicle is filled with the wrong fuel? There are two types of scenario arising after wrong fuelling and you have to deal with them separately-
- You are aware of wrong-fuelling
- You are not aware of wrong-fuelling
We will discuss both the scenarios separately and let you know how to go about either of the situation and save your car from damage.
1. You are aware of wrong-fuelling
- Very first and most important thing to remember is - Don't start your vehicle
- No matter what, don't drive your engine and if need be, push your car to the nearest parking bay
- Call a mobile recovery service you specializes in such problems
- If your vehicle is an automatic one and you have put it in Parking mode, you may have to start it to bring into neutral position. Make sure you turn the engine off immediately as soon as do it.
2. You are not aware of wrong-fuelling
- In this case you might have driven the car for a few kilometres before realizing the damage
- Call the emergency services as soon as you realize the issue and stop the car immediately.
It is very difficult to assess the damage caused as many factors come to play. However, the below mentioned components have to be checked and if need arises, changed as well -
- Fuel pump
- Catalytic converters
- Contamination of fuel tank
- Valve guides and valve seats.
What's the recovery process?
Once your vehicle is contaminated with the wrong fuel, it's advisable not to start the vehicle and call mobile recovery service. However, there are three methods which can be applied to recover your vehicle which includes calling the mobile services, taking it to the nearest garage or take it to the company authorized service station. Here's how these methods work-
Method 1 - The basic of all methods is a mobile recovery service, also known as roadside assistance in India. The technician from this service will use a hose to access the fuel tank and will empty the complete tank. Once it's done, the car will be filled with the right fuel and the driver can carry on with the journey. This, of course, is a method when your car has not been driven and you know that fuel has not entered the fuel lines. If that's the case, the technician will flush the fuel lines with the correct fuel before refuelling and then start the car.
Method 2 - The second method involves taking the car to a garage. This of course depends on the mobile recovery team as they will give you the vehicle in running condition. It is advisable to take the car to a garage after it can be driven to some extent and get it cleaned and checked properly. The garage mechanic will use a static pump to remove the fuel or remove the tank itself to manually drain the contaminated fuel. He will also check the filter and if need be, change it.
Method 3 - The last method is the most comprehensive one and involves the main service centre. One can either directly call the service centre and their team will tow away the car or you can call the mobile recovery team to get the car in the running condition. Once taken to the dealer, they will analyze the parts required, do a complete overhaul and give back the car. This process can be expensive and time consuming at the same time.
So now that you know what's wrong fuelling all about and how to deal with it, we hope you will never face such breakdown again. In any case, we would advise you to put a sticker on the fuel cap to avoid any trouble.