How do I know if my fuel is contaminated?

Issues with contaminated fuel are somewhat rare nowadays, however, if you are unlucky enough to be in this situation, repairs can be very costly. 

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PROOF OF PURCHASE: Although many people do not retain receipts, they can be helpful when making claims for contamination issues.

If you notice any of the following symptoms soon after refuelling you MAY have bought contaminated fuel:

  • Engine running rough or lacking power/performance
  • Engine harder to start than usual
  • Misfiring, pinging or backfiring
  • “Engine check” light illuminated

If you suspect that you have picked up a bad batch of fuel, your first priority is to take your car to your local mechanic or servicing dealer, for a check and verification.

If you are unable to drive your car to your mechanic, call our Road Assist team, who offer NRMA Members a quick check and advice or towing if assistance is necessary. 

Be sure to note the date time and location of where the fuel was obtained. A fuel receipt will also be handy.

Advise the service station where you bought the fuel from that you are experiencing problems following the last refuelling and that you will be making a claim against them for the repairs that may be  needed. 

Have you ever experienced contaminated fuel before? Was it a costly repair? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

 

Wrong fuel woes- How to save on unwanted repair costs

An NRMA survey of more than 1,300 motorists has found almost a quarter of drivers have filled up with the incorrect fuel type. 

FUEL MIX UP -Repairs to fuel system and engine  can be very expensive!

FUEL MIX UP -Repairs to fuel system and engine can be very expensive!

Putting petrol in diesel cars appears to be the more common mistake than diesel in petrol cars because of greater familiarity with petrol cars. The larger diesel pump nozzles makes misfueling a little difficult.

Whilst this could be as a result of being new to the vehicle or simply being distracted while filling up, knowing what to do in this situation can save you thousands.

Serious issues that arise out of the misfueling (putting petrol in diesel vehicles) – safety (petrol is extremely flammable ), may cause  serious damage to fuel injection system and the engine, the resultant damage is not be covered  under warranty and the  insurance policies may not provide cover for the mistake.

Diesel fuel pumps operate on very fine tolerance at high pressures and is lubricated by the diesel fuel. When petrol is added to diesel fuel, the mix acts as a solvent, reducing lubrication. This can also cause damage to the fuel pump through metal to metal contact and create metal particles which can cause significant damage to the rest of the fuel system.

Serious engine damage may also occur due to detonation (knocking) caused by uncontrolled petrol ignition under a much higher compression pressure consistent with the diesel engine.

As a general rule, regardless of your vehicles fuel type, it’s important not to turn on the ignition or start the engine if you’ve filled up with the wrong type of fuel. Instead contact Roadside Assistance if you are an NRMA Member,who will arrange towing to a licensed mechanic/NRMA MotorServe for further assessment.

If you did not realise your mistake until you experienced performance problems or abnormal engine noises STOP and call for assistance – it may minimise further damage.

Never attempt to syphon fuel yourself. Apart from the safety risk, it is also an offence to pollute any waters with severe penalties imposed by the authority (EPA).

Vehicle owners can also prevent the use of misfuelling by installing aftermarket devices, such as SoloDiesel, which has been designed to block the narrower diameter petrol nozzle.

Have you ever used the wrong fuel type in your vehicle? How much did it cost you to fix your vehicle?

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

What are CVT transmissions and how do they operate?

As car dealerships try to entice buyers to consider new cars with run out deals, we’ve had some calls from NRMA Members asking about CVT transmissions. Such as, what are they and how do they operate?

CVT is short for continuously variable transmission. Automatic transmissions rely upon planetary gears to operate and have a limited number of ratios. CVT on the other hand has very few parts and uses a system of variable pulleys connected by a belt to work. The resultant gear ratios are virtually infinite.

When a CVT equipped car accelerates, the pulleys vary their diameter to lower the engine speed as the car speed increases. This is the same thing a conventional transmission does, but instead of changing the ratio in stages by shifting gears, the CVT continuously varies the ratio.

Because there are no gears to tie a given road speed directly to a given engine speed, the CVT can vary the engine speed as needed to access maximum power as well as maximum fuel efficiency. This allows the CVT to provide better acceleration than a conventional automatic or manual transmission while delivering superior fuel economy.

Although CVT transmission design is not new, it has gone into production cars only recently. Its popularity with the car manufacturers has increased due its simple design and cost, better fuel economy and lower exhaust gas emissions.

Driving a Continuously Variable Transmission equipped car may require a little getting used to as the gradual changes in engine note during acceleration sounds like a slipping transmission or a slipping clutch, which can be signs of trouble with a conventional transmission. This is however perfectly normally for this type of transmission.

Have you heard about CVT’s before? Is this type of transmission important to you when choosing a new car? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) 

10-year driver licence now available for eligible motorists

From 16 March 2015, holders of unrestricted class C and/ or R licences aged 21 to 44 are eligible to opt for a 10 year renewal.  This follows a recommendation of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal review called Reforming Licensing in NSW. The change has been introduced to enhance customer experience by minimising the amount of times a customer needs to attend a registry or service centre.

From 16 March 2015, holders of unrestricted class C and/ or R licences aged 21 to 44 are eligible to opt for a 10 year renewal. This follows a recommendation of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal review called Reforming Licensing in NSW.


From this month, holders of an unrestricted C and/or R class licence, aged 21 to 44 years are eligible for a 10-year driver licence.

Eligible customers who have no relevant offences recorded in the previous five years leading up to the date they renew their licences will receive the 50 per cent safe driver discount when renewing their licence.  If you are eligible for the discount, you will be advised at the time of renewal.

The introduction of 10-year driver licences will result in time and cost efficiencies for eligible motorists. The 10 year licence costs $316, while a 5 year licence costs $170. See Transport for NSW’s fees page for all costs associated with the licence.

All drivers can get a half price licence if you have a clean driving record for 5 years. If you are eligible for the 10-year licence, the half price discount is a bigger saving, which is an incentive to drive safely, particularly for young drivers.

The 10-year driver licence option is restricted to the 21 to 44 year age group to minimise the risks of facial changes making visual identification more difficult. It is also because people in older age groups need to have more frequent eyesight testing.

You can only apply for the 10-year driver’s licence when your licence is due for renewal.

If you have any further questions about the 10 Year Licence, see the Roads and Maritime Service FAQs. See this page more information on the Fair Go for Safe Drivers’ incentive scheme.

What do you think of this news?

Reverse assist – more choices for your vehicle

Park Assist/ Reversing cameras are now a standard feature on many new cars. NRMA’s Motoring Advice team has been asked how good they are and if it is worth fitting after–market systems to cars without such devices? 

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BLINDSIDE: Most modern vehicles suffer from poor rear visibility, with some having blind zones in excess of 10 metres

From navigating your car into a tight spot to drastically improving rear vision, reversing technologies can help make driving easier and help reduce the risk of collisions with another vehicle, or anything else.

The market is filled with a range of aftermarket options to help improve rear visibility and prevent collisions. Knowing how each technology works can help you decide what is best for your car.

Reverse cameras

Reverse cameras are generally easy to install with options of hard-wired or wireless setup, depending on your vehicle. The camera can be discretely mounted  above or below a rear number plate to allow you to view real-time footage from an LCD screen which is mounted on or around the dashboard.   

Small children, animals and objects are easily obscured from view when behind, even the smallest of vehicles. By giving better visibility, reverse cameras can increase safety, convenience and give extra peace of mind. However, reading the screen and gaining confidence may require some practice.

Parking sensors

These are proximity sensors and detect objects in the path of the reversing vehicle within a defined distance range. The driver is alerted via audible beeps. Some systems may also incorporate a camera.  They are installed into the rear bumper bar of a vehicle. The devices use sensors that increase in frequency of the beep as an object gets closer, working from a range of approximately 0.3 to 3 meters.

Although these devices are useful aids, drivers should not rely on them to guide the car out of a tight situation. It’s important to keep in mind that these items merely ‘assist’ with parking and reversing of the vehicle. Responsibility for handling a vehicle safely still lies with the driver.

Does your car have reverse assist technology? Do you think it has improved your awareness and safety when driving? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).