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Motorbikes belched blue smoke after filling up with wrong fuel

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March 13, 2017
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Motorcycling mechanic Grant Hagger was left hopping mad after filling up at his local Esso garage.

He and his wife had gone out for a ride on their motorcycles when they filled up with what they thought was premium unleaded petrol.

But just a few miles along the road the performance of both machines deteriorated and the exhausts began belching smoke.

Mr Hagger said the bikes coughed and spluttered when they started, and every time they accelerated “puffs of blue smoke shot out”.

The 39-year-old qualified motor mechanic from Hertfordshire suspected the fuel was at fault and on inspection discovered his Kawasaki tank contained diesel rather than petrol.

Petrol pump

He got both bikes fixed and then went back to the Esso garage with the fuel receipt and an invoice for £220 for the repairs.

But his plea for compensation was dismissed and the filling station denied their fuel was contaminated.

A spokesman said: “We take the quality of our fuel very seriously. We use a real-time analysis service from an independent petrol management specialist to ensure the integrity of our fuels at all times.

“Our service provider conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that pumps were dispensing high-quality, uncontaminated fuel at the time of the reported incident.”

On average someone fills up with the wrong fuel every three minutes in the UK with roughly 150,000 motorists doing it last year.

It is such a common mistake it makes perfect sense to take out a bespoke misfuel insurance package before it’s too late.

It is difficult to fill up with diesel instead of petrol because the nozzle on the pump is too thick to fit a petrol tank filler neck. But if the pump is filled with the wrong fuel in the first place, you will probably remain none the wiser.

Everyone should know what to do if they do fill up with the wrong fuel.

If you notice at the filling station, don’t crank the engine because that will circulate the fuel and cause more problems. If you don’t notice straight away the car’s performance will quickly deteriorate so you should stop as soon as it is safe to do so.

If you have filled up with diesel instead of petrol, the tank will have to be thoroughly drained and flushed. It’s a good idea to get the fuel injectors cleaned too before the tank is refueled with the correct grade of petrol.

Putting petrol in your diesel engine is more common, and potentially more hazardous too.  Again, your tank will need to be drained and flushed as soon as possible.

In diesel cars, the main fuel pump uses the diesel flowing through it for lubrication but a mix of petrol and diesel acts as a solvent, reducing lubrication and damaging the pump as the metal parts will begin to rub together. The further you manage to drive without correcting the error, the more damage you are likely to do.



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