Wrong Fuel Removal – Don’t Try The DIY Approach – Myth 2
As part of our ongoing wrong fuel myth busting series of blog posts, we’re going to look at some of the most terrible wrong fuel removal DIY misinformation that can be found on the internet. There are a frightening number of websites offering advice on how to drain the fuel tank of your vehicle after putting the wrong fuel into it. These DIY wrong fuel removal methods range from being relatively safe and offering lots of safety advice to being outrageously dangerous and potentially life threatening. The common factor in all cases, though, is the fact that even the seemingly safety conscious methods still only offer a partial solution which will, in all likelihood, still result in damage to the vehicle engine over time.
Wrong Fuel Removal Requires Expertise
The hard fact is that removal of the wrong fuel from any vehicle should only be carried out by an expert using the correct equipment specifically meant to carry out this job. The problem is usually concerning petrol that has been mistakenly put into a diesel vehicle. Petrol is an extremely hazardous chemical. The liquid itself and its fumes are highly flammable. It’s also hazardous when it comes into contact with skin and eyes. Carrying out a fuel drain on any vehicle is also governed by the law. Anyone attempting to perform a fuel drain on a vehicle whilst the vehicle is on public property or close to any other member of the public has to be licensed and fully trained to handle hazardous chemicals. They also need their activity to be approved by the Environment Agency. If an individual doesn’t have the correct training and licensing, not only are they putting themselves and members of the public in danger, they are also breaking the law and the potential penalties are severe.
Don’t Take Expensive DIY Wrong Fuel Removal Risks
Our many years of experience in this job have meant that we have been informed of and have witnessed first hand the tragic consequences of people attempting to remove the wrong fuel from a vehicle by following DIY advice in order to try to save themselves a few pounds. The irony in many of these cases has been that the person concerned has gone out and spent money on some tools to attempt to do the job and has ended up spending much more in terms of time and money, than it would have cost them to have the job done properly by a professional.
How DIY Wrong Fuel Removal Can Go Wrong
One case that came to our attention recently involved a very common risk taken, which ended badly but could have been a lot more tragic. The gentleman concerned had recently spent a lot of money on a new car, a diesel Jaguar X Type. Having been used to driving petrol cars previously, on his first trip to the fuel station he accidentally put half a tank of petrol into his car fuel tank on top of a quarter of a tank of diesel. As the fuel station was not too far from his home, he asked a family member to help him tow the car home. He confessed to being too embarrassed to tell anyone what he had done and so he did some internet research to find out how he could perform the wrong fuel removal himself. The method he chose involved using a pump controlled using an electric hand drill. He chose to attempt the wrong fuel removal in his garage so that his neighbours wouldn’t see what he was up to. He did, however, have the presence of mind to dress in safety clothing and put on a mask. The fuel drain was going according to plan until about half way through the process, the build up of petrol fumes in the enclosed space reached a critical level. Anyone who has ever used a hand held power drill will probably have noticed that when the trigger is activated there is an electrical spark visible through the casing vents around the motor. Most people will recognise that electrical sparks and petrol fumes are not a great combination. The resulting explosion threw the gentleman against his garage door which, fortunately, was not locked and was only closed to and so served to slow down his movement. He was also wearing his safety clothing and so was not too badly burnt. He did have to spend the night in hospital but recovered quickly thanks to the fast action of his next door neighbour who rescued him after hearing the explosion. The car did not recover and was scrapped.
This gentleman was extremely lucky. He would almost certainly have died if not for his safety clothing and the fact that his garage door was only closed to and wasn’t latched. It turned out to be a very expensive and painful mistake for him and he informed one of our guys as he thought his story may prevent others from trying to do the same thing in order to save money or hide an embarrassing mistake.
Please do not attempt DIY wrong fuel removal. Asking a professional will, in all likelihood, actually save you money and will certainly save you hassle. As if the risk to your life or your car was not enough, there is also the fact that DIY wrong fuel removal will not do a thorough enough job. Some petrol will inevitably remain in the vehicle fuel system and will end up causing long term damage to the diesel fuel system seals and where there is contact between metal components due to compromised lubrication of the system.