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Fuels & Lubricants Discussion all about Fuels & Lubricants. synthetic oil, conventional oil, brands, change intervals, diesel grades, gelling and such debated items like that. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed. This forum is NOT for the discussion of biodiesel and other alternative fuels.

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Old January 30th, 2013, 14:39   #1
Sweetmeat
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Default Mixing unleaded with Diesel in 2012 Jetta TDI

Hello, all. I am new to this forum and this is my first post.

Something happened to me a couple of days ago, and I thought I would share my story so others may be able to benefit from it in case they have the same problem.

I have owned my 2012 Jetta TDI since ~September 2011. Although I will admit that I don't go many places, I have never been to a gas station where the diesel handle wasn't green. A couple of days ago, that all changed.

I pulled into an unfamiliar gas station and immediately saw 3 black handles and 1 green handle. So I took the green one and started filling up my tank. I then realized my mistake and turned off the pump, with only pumping .42 gallons of unleaded into my tank. I had about 30 miles of diesel in my tank (according to the display in my car) prior to filling it with the .42 gallons of unleaded.

After turning off the unleaded fuel pump, I went into panic mode, and finished filling my tank with with diesel. My phone battery was nearly dead, and I had just moved the charger from my VW to my other vehicle, so I didn't have a way to charge the phone. My quickest bet to find out if I'm screwed was to call my dad and ask him his opinion. He knows the old engines and diesels well, so he told me .42 gallons shouldn't be enough to cause any damage.

I ended up driving my car home and upon arrival immediately started charging my phone so I could do a bunch of internet searches. What I found was that even a TRACE of unleaded in the >2009 TDI engines could be catastrophic, and the repair bill could be ~$11,000.00. Needless to say, I was freaking out!

Some people had said that their insurance company paid for their vehicle to be repaired, so I thought I would call mine in the morning and see if they would. Well, I have American Family, and they told me that the only way they would tell me if they would cover it is if I submitted a claim, and then they'd research it and determine if they would pay it. The people who claimed that their insurance paid for it said that they had Farmers Insurance and another guy had State Farm.

I decided to call State Farm and ask them if they really do cover the repair, and they called their claims department and told me that they would cover the cost of the parts, but not the labor. I think I will be switching to State Farm VERY soon in case I made a huge mistake like this again.

Anyway, I also called the dealership in the morning and asked them if I should be concerned, and they told me that their official response is that I should immediately have my vehicle towed to their dealership and have them empty the tank, flush the lines, and replace the fuel filter. He also said that because I had put in such a small amount that the mechanic said that I could probably just continue to drive the car. I was reluctant to just continue to drive the car due to the fact that I might end up getting an $11,000 bill and my insurance company had already said that they probably won't cover it.

I decided to just have my vehicle towed in by VW Roadside assitance. I didn't tell them why it's being towed - I just told them that I spoke with the VW service department and they recommended that I get it towed. No more questions were asked.

So, the car was towed and then I just had to wait to find out if I was soon going to be $11,000 poorer, or if I was ok. Finally I called the service tech who told me that everything was fine and I just owed ~$540.00.

I picked my car up that night and have been driving it for about a week now with no problems.

Before I had the work done, I also asked the service tech if my warranty would be impacted by this. Some people have claimed that VW wouldn't honor the warranty after someone puts regular gas in their diesel engine. The answer I got from the service tech was that there would not be any effect on the warranty because the work that was being done (flush, etc) was not being covered under warranty so they do not need to disclose that to VW.

To conclude, I was extremely lucky in that I didn't cause any damage. If you have put regular gas into your diesel and you realize it before you start your car, DO NOT START your car. Call roadside assistance and just tell them that your car died. No more information is needed. They'll tow you for free (if under warranty) and then your bill will be less than what I paid. If you have already started your car and then your car dies, you're probably going to be on the hook for replacing your entire fuel system which won't be covered under warranty. If you're lucky and didn't put in much at all (like my .42 gallons), you MIGHT be ok. I was told that if you're going to have major problems, it would happen within just a few miles.

Now I know to always read the sign and smell the nozzle before I fill up. I am also banning myself from going to BP (or any other place for that matter) for diesel until they conform to the standard of using green handles for their diesel fuel. I know there's no law that stipulates what color the handles must be, but most other places have adopted a standard of using green handles.

I hope that this helps someone out there who might be in the same situation as I was. Good luck and I hope your repair bill isn't too much.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 14:53   #2
Softrockrenegade
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Yeah .... You shouldn't have started it . If you only had a very short trip home (like around the corner) perhaps the gasoline never made it to your high pressure fuel pump(HPFP). Now way to tell if any damage was really done untill you drive it for a bit. Your insurance company will cover it under comprehensive as it was an accident but if vw will cover under warrenty still , even better. Anyway , you learned a valuable lesson about pump handles ... Always read the pump ! Best wishes and good luck.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 18:36   #3
jmarshall
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I dont mean this to be offensive, but I am certain that all CR TDI owners that are members of this site know very well the dangers of putting gas in their TDI
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Old January 30th, 2013, 18:57   #4
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I've yet to see a green handled diesel pump - all in my area are yellow, black or grey

Learn to read the signs and don't assume.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 19:03   #5
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Sorry for your luck OP. What was the green nozzle if it wasn't diesel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by node_one View Post
I've yet to see a green handled diesel pump - all in my area are yellow, black or grey

Learn to read the signs and don't assume.
There are some green ones in PA and I think in DE too.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 19:05   #6
Chris Tobin
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You guys are gonna chase this poor TDI owner off... He'll never want to post again. Obviously some people make fueling mistakes and he was telling his story in hopes of helping others in the event that they too ever make a fueling mistake. Don't beat him up for trying to be helpful to other TDIers and potential TDIers. Remember, especially in the last couple years there are more and more TDIs available so some of the owners may be very new to diesel ownership.

Sweetmeat, welcome to TDIClub! Bummer about the misfuel. You'll probably see $500 flash before your eyes each time you reach for the pump from now on. It is pretty dumb that stations do not use a universal color system, and I agree that BP is the worst with green on the unleaded pumps and black or yellow for diesel...
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Old January 30th, 2013, 19:13   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by node_one View Post
I've yet to see a green handled diesel pump - all in my area are yellow, black or grey

Learn to read the signs and don't assume.

And all the diesel pumps ARE green in my area. Very few are black and I have never seen a yellow one.

So yeah if you aren't paying attention it can be easy to do. I understand and the OP learned a valuable lesson for sure.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 19:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmarshall View Post
I dont mean this to be offensive, but I am certain that all CR TDI owners that are members of this site know very well the dangers of putting gas in their TDI
Yeah, but the OP just joined.

OP: Thanks for the story. Hope your HPFP isn't damaged...FYI, fuel system replacement is more like $7-8k, not $11k.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 19:44   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmarshall View Post
I dont mean this to be offensive, but I am certain that all CR TDI owners that are members of this site know very well the dangers of putting gas in their TDI
No offense taken. My post was not necessarily for existing members, but more for others who are frantically searching for information after they make the same mistake. I searched for probably 6 - 7 hours once I got home and didn't sleep until about 3:30 am. I really wanted to try to consolidate what I learned from multiple posts and talks with VW so others can benefit.
When I first got my TDI I was extremely and overly cautious about making sure I was putting in diesel. Then I guess I got lazy, or maybe just got used to always using green handles for diesel and black for unleaded. At BP, it's completely opposite of everything I've gotten accustomed to through my entire life.
To answer another poster's question, the green handle was unleaded, one of the 3 black handles was diesel and the other 2 were unleaded.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 20:00   #10
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This is our first Diesel vehicle after decades of gassers. Since we also still have gassers, we have to be careful to not space out and accidentally gas up when fueling.

I don't like admitting this, but:

Somehow I don't really notice the benign yellow sticker that VW put on the fueling port. To help eliminate any chance of forgetfulness, what I did was to tie a fairly long piece of florescent glow orange colored surveyor's tape onto the tether of the fuel cap so the two ends hang out like long streamer flags and on both pieces of the surveyor's tape in large letters I wrote "DIESEL" with a black marker.

You can't miss the surveyor's tape when you unscrew the fuel cap and it reminds me to be sure that I correctly select a Diesel fuel nozzle. It also may help warn others (like my dear wife) who don't usually but may at some point fuel our vehicle that it requires Diesel.

After fueling and screwing the fuel cap back on, I wrap the surveyor's tape around the fuel cap before I close the fuel access door. So far the surveyor's tape has not embarrassed me by slipping out the crack between the fuel door and fender while driving, but I do get some weird looks while fueling.

Last edited by roostre; January 30th, 2013 at 20:05.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 20:15   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayg View Post
And all the diesel pumps ARE green in my area. Very few are black and I have never seen a yellow one
X2
I have not owned a gas vehicle since 1986. (except for motorcycles)
My problem is the opposite . I have accidently put some diesel in gas cars or trucks. (4X) But they seem to run better depending on the amount.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 22:24   #12
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Just because of the possiblity of a memory lapse like this, so far I only use pumps that are diesel only. I figure multiple hoses on a pump is an inventation to misfuelling by bad labeling or bad fuel truck delivery. I'm sure when I finally take an extra long road trip I'll finally have to roll the dice.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 22:56   #13
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Are we sure that this (mixing in a bit of regular) is not what the fuel companies are doing to winterize diesel? Back in the 70s this was the recommended method.
Even if the lubricity of regular was zero, adding 5% should reduce the lubricity by at most that amount. You'd think the safety margin was larger than that.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 23:04   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesl View Post
Are we sure that this (mixing in a bit of regular) is not what the fuel companies are doing to winterize diesel? Back in the 70s this was the recommended method.
Yes, we are sure. This is not the 70s and diesel engines have changed since then. Winterization may mix diesel with kerosine, but not gasoline. Winterization may also just be anti-gel and water control additives. How (and how much) winterization is done depends on where you live. Florida's winter fuel may be very different from Minnesota's.

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Old January 31st, 2013, 05:29   #15
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One should have learned by now to not believe everything you read on the internet. You were never facing a $11,000 repair bill.

Yes, you were under a real risk to get hit with a big repair bill but people on the internet tend to exaggerate.

I would have stopped and drained as soon as I had realized what I did.
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