The moment you realise you've just filled, or started filling your car with the wrong fuel has got to be one of the most sickening feelings in owning a car. Feeling completely helpless isn't uncommon, but if you follow some simple steps you can make sure you don't cause any long term damage.
If you've filled your car with the wrong fuel, this means the fuel tank is contaminated with the wrong fuel - and at this moment, it is just the tank - great news. If you've managed to catch yourself at this point, the situation is easily recoverable - at a garage with the right equipment. Just get someone to help you move to a safe place within the petrol station, without starting the engine - and call a garage - like us!
Now - the situation gets a little more complicated if you've started to drive the car - at this point the mixture of fuels has started to make it's way through the fuel system, into secondary pumps and fuel filters. At this point the whole system will need draining to some extent - again this must be done with the right equipment and with modern high pressure fuel systems, if attempted using "old school" methods - can be extremely dangerous.
There are those in-between occasions where you have contaminated only a small amount of fuel - for example you've pumped a litre or two into the tank. It is possible to dilute the fuel you've already pumped by topping the tank up with the correct fuel. Despite diluting however, the seals and gaskets within your fuel system will behave differently - they are designed specifically for the correct fuel - the wrong fuel can cause them to swell or crack - particularly in higher concentrations, which can happen when the fuels separate. Therefore - even if you think you can get away with it, it's worth calling into a a garage with the correct equipment and having the fuel system flushed - it may well save you a fortune!
Your car is getting more complicated - it's a truth which is embarrassing many car owners when it comes to even some of the most basic maintenance tasks such as oil changes, oil top ups, brake fluid top ups, cooling system top up - even screenwash top up!
Why the embarrassment? Well, what were basic tasks have now become a lot more complicated, requiring car specific knowledge and a level of expertise your average car owner simply doesn't have. We hear stories on a weekly basis where customers are performing basic maintenance tasks in the hope of saving some money, unfortunately many of these stories end in disaster and, more cost.
Many people apply the same routine to weekly maintenance and checks that they always have, however with cars getting more complicated, the implications of getting it wrong are getting more serious.
Let's bring this to a life with an example, topping up your oil is one of the more basic tasks, however the implications of getting it wrong are extremely serious. We heard a story recently where a 'routine' oil top up and a slight misunderstanding of the oil dipstick resulted in the car owner over-filling the engine with oil. Being a small petrol engine with a turbo the oil is vital to reliable operation of the turbocharger that spins at up to 60,000 revs per minute. Unfortunately in the case mentioned the oil overfill resulted in the complete failure of the turbo, costing hundreds of pounds in parts alone - and, with the turbo not being a typical service part, the cost of labour was also high.
This is just one example, but there are several major problems that can be caused by seemingly minor or incidental mistakes - wrong oil, mixing oils, mixing brake fluids, fluids in wrong reservoirs, wrong ratio of anti-freeze to water, wrong tyre pressures.....the list could go on!
The message for this week - 'think before you dabble' - as it could end up costing you a fortune!
Following on from our car servicing article, we're talking about another vital element to your vehicle maintenance. In many ways, even more vital - as poor tyre maintenance can cost you a bit more than just your hard earned cash. That's right, I'm talking about 3 points for each tyre, and that's if they don't cause a serious accident.
So how do you even maintain your tyres? They just have air in them right? Well, sort of! Air is a gas, and over time air can escape from any tyre, even one in good condition. From season to season the air temperature changes, meaning the air inside your tyres expands, and contracts - meaning the pressure in the tyre now, is different to what it was a few months ago.
And what about those additional passengers or luggage you're taking to the beach this weekend? That's right - your tyres will need more pressure if you're carrying more weight in the car. This sounds silly - but it's true, all car manufacturers advise both a "laden" and "unladen" tyre pressure for your vehicle.
So what's the big deal with tyre pressures? The pressure in your tyres makes them run differently on the road - the lower the pressure (or heavier the car), the flatter the tyre, the more likely it is to run on it's "sidewall" - and the clue is in the name, it's supposed to be a "side" not running on the road. Too high a pressure can be just as bad, if not worse - this causes only a thin portion of the tyre to run on the road - not using the full width of tread available. Not only does this wear out your tyre, costing you money, but can also reduce your braking performance - and therefore stopping distance.
Not sure how to check your tyre pressures? Not sure what tyre pressure you should have in your vehicle? Don't even know if your tyres are legal? You're not alone, but that doesn't make you or your family any safer. Call in to IJP Automotive for all your tyre repair, tyre replacement, tyre maintenance and tyre checking in Barry.
Servicing your car can seem a luxury, many car owners are over the moon when the trusty steed passes it's once a year MOT and believe that this amounts to good car maintenance.
Unfortunately, this is simply not true (sorry) - an MOT is a test of a cars' safety, not it's state of maintenance or physical health....That's where servicing comes in.
Car servicing is vital to long lasting, reliable, cost effective motoring (yes cost effective!)
There's a cost to servicing your car, this can't be denied - but there's also a cost to not servicing your car - potentially very costly!
Keep your car in good shape - watch out for the service light - or get your car booked in at least once a year.
Call in today, with you car, van or motorhome - get you vehicle booked in for the care it is crying out for!
we service cars of all models at our workshop on Merthyr Street Barry.
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