It’s a panic we’re all familiar with. When topping up the fuel of your vehicle, the age-old question of “unleaded or diesel?” becomes prominent in our minds. Whilst this can be a worrying last-minute thought when filling up your own vehicle, the panic and confusion intensifies when driving a hired vehicle that you are less familiar with. In the rare but possible instance that you fill your vehicle up with the incorrect fuel, it is important that you follow a set of simple steps to ensure the safety of both you and the vehicle remains.
The most important step to take at first is to ensure that the ignition remains switched off. However, as many drivers don’t realise their mistake until they begin to drive away from the forecourt, this isn’t always an action that is taken. Therefore, there are two different approaches which should be taken if you fill your vehicle up with the incorrect fuel.
Has your ignition remained switched off?
By keeping your vehicle turned off, you place yourself in the most favourable position in this situation. Ensure you keep your keys away from the ignition to avoid accidentally turning it on whilst actioning the following steps:
1. Notify the petrol station. It is crucial that they are aware of your situation, and they may also be able to help with step 3.
2. You should check that your vehicle is in neutral. If you have left it sitting in any other gear, it is important to shift to neutral whilst your vehicle remains switched off, and your keys are kept away from the ignition.
3. With the help of the petrol station employees, a passenger from your vehicle or another driver, push your vehicle safely to a nearby location that is situated away from the fuel pumps and moving traffic.
4. At this stage, you should lock and walk away from your vehicle. You should then make a call to your insurance provider, or the company you have hired your vehicle from. They will then be able to advise you further on the next steps to take to ensure that your fuel tank can be drained safely.
Have you turned your ignition on?
Whilst it is preferable for the safety of your vehicle that your ignition remains switched off throughout, this isn’t always how it occurs.
1. We stress that, as soon as you realise the fuel error, you switch your engine off. Retaliation may dawn when you notice your vehicle grinding to a halt, or even before your car starts to make any signals. Whether that be whilst you remain on the forecourt or on the road nearby, prioritise the health of your vehicle and yourself by switching the engine off as soon as possible. Remove the key from the ignition and exit the vehicle.
2. If your vehicle is switched off and situated in a location of potential danger, such as across a junction or in the direction of moving traffic, then you should seek the assistance of a passenger, pedestrian or other driver to support you in pushing the car to a safer location. Make sure the vehicle is in neutral and that it remains switched off during this action.
3. Give your insurance company, or hire company, a call to inform them of the situation. They will work with you to provide you with required support.
Have you turned your ignition on?
In either instance, a call to the relevant insurance company can result in your fuel tank being corrected. With use of specialist tools, a trained professional will be able to drain the incorrectly inserted fuel from the tank before providing a ‘flush through’ to decontaminate the tank, ensuring that all traces of the damaging fuel are removed. Your tank will then be filled with the correct fuel to assess that everything operates as it should, before you are able to head out onto the road once more.
At PACE Van Hire, we provide a fleet of diesel-powered vans for hire. If you are looking for a vehicle to rent, or have any questions about our diesel engines, get in touch! We are here and happy to help. Contact us today.