Diesel or Unleaded? Fatal error!

This article originally appeared in the German magazine "Autoflotte", edition 5 in 2021.

3 questions for the Tankfreund team

How often are cars being misfuelled?

Accidentally picking the wrong nozzle at the petrol station can happen quickly when distracted - or because of poor or missing labelling behind the fuel cap. 1 in 10 engine failures is caused by the wrong fuel. There are no official statistics on this for Germany, but experts estimate 200.000 cases of misfuelling in Germany every year. This means that about every 3 minutes a driver is putting Diesel in a petrol car or the other way around. Insurance companies generally do not cover damages due to misfuelling and especially with commercial fleets and company cars, this can create unpleasant legal situations.

Are there other solutions available to prevent misfuelling?

There are a handful of car manufacturers that equip selected models with a mechanical solution by default. Before the Tankfreund, the only alternative to retrofit a device were fuel caps that had to be purchased specific to each car model and were significantly more expensive.

How expensive are damages due to misfuelling?

If the mistake has already happened, the most important thing is to not start the engine. In this case, towing to a garage, removing the wrong fuel, cleaning the system and disposal of the wrong fuel will still add up to 300 to 500 GBP. A fatal engine failure that one risks when turning on the engine with the wrong fuel in the tank can easily cost up to 10.000 GBP. Compared to the potential damages, the small price for our "Tankfreund" (similar to about 2 litres of fuel) is a smart investment.