Contaminated fuel – 6 things you must do

Contaminated fuel advice

Issues with contaminated fuel are uncommon however repairing the damage from low quality fuel can be expensive.

You can protect yourself by keeping receipts showing where and when you purchased fuel, as well as keeping records. It can also be useful to fill up at the same service station so there is no doubt about which fuel caused the concerns.
Fixing a contaminated fuel problem

If your vehicle is running poorly and your mechanic suspects contaminated fuel, take the following steps:

1. Take down the details:

Note the time, date, and location the fuel was purchased, receipts are a big help. Keep all these records to hand so you can refer to them in any correspondence. Keep a note of any correspondence too.

2. Get an expert opinion:

Have a qualified mechanic report on the damage done. Keep all damaged/replaced parts and full documentation of what is done. Factual evidence is important.

3. Take a sample:

Get a qualified mechanic to take a sample of the fuel from the tank to be analysed, keep it stored in a clean sealed container. The best container is a new fuel can, sold at service stations, at least a litre of fuel is recommended. If the fuel was purchased in the previous 24 hours it can also be of benefit to take obtain a second specimen directly from the service station.

4. Speak to the authorities:

To help improve the future quality of fuel you should report any fuel quality issues to the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy. The Department is in charge of all the fuel quality standards in Australia and can be contacted on 1800 803 772 or by filling out this form.

5. Go back to where you bought the fuel:

Speak with the relevant service station and fuel company regarding the fuel and repairs. If it can be proven that the fuel has caused the damage owners should be reimbursed for the cost of repairs. It can be beneficial to make a claim in writing with all your documentation.

6. Get Consumer affairs involved:

If you’re not satisfied with the situation contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 for further advice. Fuel testing can be completed at Intertek, they can be contacted on (03) 9646 9299.
IMPORTANT:

In most cases you’ll need to pay for the repairs upfront. Once the cause of damage has been proven then you’ll have a case to receive reimbursement from the fuel supplier. You may need to prove that all costs incurred are a result of the contaminated fuel.

Images: iStock.com/Antonis Liokouras

Written by Nicholas Platt, Senior Vehicle Engineer
July 25, 2016