Doing right by your diesel
A word of advice on avoiding contaminated diesel.
30 July 2012
We kiwis are all too ready to berate our performance when it comes to world standards, when, in many cases, there’s simply no need. Griping about the quality of our diesel is a case in point.
In actual fact, our diesel ranks as one of the best in the world. Consumer Affair’s Measurement and Product Safety Service (MAPSS) randomly tests the quality of diesel in service stations around the country to makes sure of this.
MAPSS’s manager Stephen O’Brien says, “New Zealand legislation around fuel quality is in line with that of Australia and the European Union, which is among the strictest in the world."
"The vast majority of diesel we test is of a high quality and meets the requirements. In the rare instance it’s not, we work with service stations or fuel companies to sort out any problems.”
If you do have a problem
When it comes to consumer rights, filling up at the garage is no different to buying a new kettle, or a new pair of shoes: Fuel must be fit for purpose. And if it’s not, the garage must make amends.
If you think your vehicle has been damaged by poor quality fuel, take it up with the service station or the fuel company you believe is responsible. If you’re not satisfied with their response ask MAPSS to investigate (0508 MAPSS INFO (0509 627 774), email@example.com).
But remember, time is of the essence. If you leave it too long, it can be difficult to say whether the fuel has been contaminated somewhere in the supply chain or in your vehicle’s tank.
Weeks or months down the line the service station will have taken many fuel deliveries and probably carried out routine maintenance on their tanks – making it difficult to prove either way.
Looking after your vehicle
People sometimes blame poor quality diesel for problems with their diesel engine, when poor maintenance or how the car is driven can be the root cause.
Follow these tips to keep your engine happy:
- Make sure you know what maintenance your vehicle needs, including how often your fuel filters need replacing – if you’re unsure ask a reputable car dealer.
- If your warning lights come on or your engine cuts out, stop driving and have it checked out straight away.
- Top up your tank. If you run your tank on empty condensation can form and drip into your diesel. The same is true if your vehicle sits idle with not much diesel in it.