What is the cost of contaminated fuel?
- 29 July 2016
We're fortunate to enjoy excellent fuel quality in Australia, with regulations and laws such as the Fuel Quality Standards Act of 2000 promoting clean diesel and other fuels. But contaminated diesel fuel is still a problem that drivers and fleet owners need to be aware of.
Essentially, contaminated fuel poisons the vehicle it goes in to. As we would get sick if we ate food containing traces of lead or other contaminants, vehicles are damaged if their tanks are filled with 'dirty' fuel. Frequently, this will be low quality fuel that is contaminated with water or particulates.
Engines having problems with contaminated fuel is actually more common with new diesel cars than older diesel cars, as older models don’t run at such extreme pressures, so are more tolerant of slightly contaminated fuel.
Water in diesel fuel can result in repairs that cost owners between $10,000 and $19,000. And contaminated unleaded fuel can result in repairs costing between $3,000 and $5,000. Many drivers now choose to invest in a supplementary fuel filter to protect their pride and joy from contaminated fuel damage.
Fuel contamination can also be a simple mistake of putting petrol in a diesel tank or vice-versa. This kind of petrol contamination can be a costly mistake, especially if you drive the vehicle, resulting in thousands of dollars' worth of damage. If you notice your mistake before starting the engine, however, you can get the engine flushed out for a few hundred dollars.
Symptoms of contamination
Shortly after refuelling, look out for the following fuel contamination symptoms:
- 'Engine check' light lit up
- Backfiring, 'pinging' or misfiring
- Engine more difficult to start than usual
- Engine lacking power or running rough
How to avoid damage
To avoid using contaminated fuel or misfuelling, be wary of where you buy fuel from and always check what you're refuelling with. Vigilance is the key to avoiding mistakes. Identify fuel providers you trust and stick with them.
What you should do if your vehicle has been damaged
If you suspect contaminated fuel has damaged your vehicle, Consumer Affairs Victoria recommends that you get written confirmation of the damage from a mechanic; contact your insurer to investigate; report the possible contamination to the Federal Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy (at 1800 803 772); and send a formal letter to the retailer of the fuel, seeking resolution.
Fuel you can trust
To ensure only the best fuel goes into your business's vehicles, choose a reliable provider of quality fuel, such as Bulk Fuel Australia. We offer clean fuel delivered in bulk throughout Australia, as well as lubricants and fuel tanks. Contact us to talk about your fuelling needs.