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Old 1st January 2013, 12:49   #1
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Default Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

I am posting the experience of my friend who owns an All New Honda City but is not a TEAM-BHP member.

He had to go through a bizare experience related to fuel mix-up at a petrol pump, on a long journey from Bangalore to Kerala for Christmas holidays. Near Salem, he refueled and continued driving only to realize that the engine is not pulling ahead cleanly and is knocking occasionally.

Wondering whether the fuel quality was bad, he stopped at the next pump again to add some more genuine petrol. While paying up this time, he noticed the previous fuel bill in his purse to learn that they have filled up diesel rather than petrol last time. He had mentioned clearly to fill petrol but the attendant filled up diesel carelessly. In the meantime, he had clocked close to 40+ km with a fuel that is diesel plus petrol combination, on a petrol car.

Panicked, he called up Sales Adviser Manjunath in Whitefield Honda in Bangalore who gave him the number of Honda road side assistance. They searched for his car's engine and chassis number in their database to no avail. His car was not registered with road side assistance. Looks like registering with road side assistance does not happen by itself when you buy the car. Probably, it needs to be done explicitly. Also, there is an option to pay some nominal amount and renew the registration, if expired.

Finally, help arrived from Honda service in Erode. It was 8:30 in the evening. Help arrived within next one hour. They towed the car away. The fuel tank of City is situated some where below the hand brake. Technicians removed the mixed up fuel from tank manually. New fuel was filled up and he continued the onward journey without problems to reach Kerala.

Two days later, things were not looking good again. Car could cruise in higher gears but when in a low gear or when engine RPM increased, the engine refused to oblige and was hesitating. Finally, the car stopped on a slight ascend in MC road near Ettumanoor. It was towed to Vision Honda in Kottayam again. He narrated the fuel mix up instance and they checked the vital parameters of the engine via an automated system to find out that the engine is perfectly fine. Further inspection revealed that the fuel pump, air filter, injector all had layers of carbon deposit which had to be cleaned up.

Still the car was ill and the technicians clueless. Technicians in Vision Honda suspected if the catalytic convertor is damaged. He was asked to leave the car behind. In the meantime, he was consulting with Manjunath and the Honda service in Alwaye too. A catalytic convertor would cost approximately 25K to replace. Within two days, he was called and told that there was pending diesel trapped in the tank still (even after the previous cleanup at Erode) and that that was the probable culprit. Went and picked up the car and drove back from Kottayam to his home town and then again back to Bangalore, without any problems.

Experience with Honda service centers:
After being little shaken up because of the fuel mix-up at the petrol pump, he is extremely pleased by the courteousness of all the three Honda service centers who got involved in various days.

When the first call was made at 8:30 in the evening, they even asked him if he and family had eaten dinner and whether they need to carry food with them. All the promised calls were returned. Throughout, he was updated many times impromptu of all the progress over phone, which inspired lot of confidence.

The pleasant surprise was when at least 3 people had called him from the different service centers in Kerala, to know if the car is running smoothly on his long drive back to Bangalore. Kudos to the team Honda. The managed to pull out the after sales experience correctly which is very vital for a manufacturer to sustain. Once a Honda owner they will try and ensure that you are one forever.

Learning:
1) Have a sticker pasted on the fuel lid of the car clearly indicating the fuel type. Computer printed stickers in numerous designs are available these days in the car accessory shops. Remember, if petrol is supplied to a diesel engine it would have been crippling the engine severely

2) Have Honda road side assistance numbers with you when going for long drives. Make sure you have a valid road side assistance registration

3) While refilling, it may be better to come out of the car and checking explicitly if right type fuel pump's nozzle is inserted into your car's tank

4) In case, you realize something amiss and learned that fuel is mixed up, don't try to run the car to the nearest showroom. Push it to a safe spot in the fuel station and call the service center. Car engine should not be started and it should be towed to the service center

Last edited by B103 : 1st January 2013 at 12:52.
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Old 1st January 2013, 12:59   #2
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Fuel mix ups happen - I had a narrow escape once, while they tried to fill Petrol in my Diesel Punto from a premium fuel dealership.

Last day, I noticed that they had installed an announcement system, which will yell "Diesel Diesel Diesel" (or petrol) three times on lifting the nozzle.
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Old 1st January 2013, 13:20   #3
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

I am surprised that your friend did not realize it while paying for the fuel after filling as the price difference is significant.
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Old 1st January 2013, 13:31   #4
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guna View Post
I am surprised that your friend did not realize it while paying for the fuel after filling as the price difference is significant.
OT : On the contrary, if he had been paying for a diesel fuel, and he got billed for petrol, that, he would have noticed immediately.

@B103 - lady luck has been with your friend it seems. More than the courteous workshop people, it's that he should be thankful - the car could have had a lot more damage in those 40 kms he drove on the mixed fuel.
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Old 1st January 2013, 13:38   #5
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Note from Mod: There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the board experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:06.
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Old 1st January 2013, 14:17   #6
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Glad to know Honda came up good in help and service department. I had used them last year when we were stranded on the middle of a highway at 00:00 hrs (Midnight). Help arrived soon as promised (i was about 50Kms away from any sort of human population).

Although i have come across many instances of fuel mix ups, i haven't had any such misadventure myself. One should remember to get out of the car (especially on the highways) and inspect what is being put into, saves a lot of trouble.
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Old 1st January 2013, 14:43   #7
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

The problem is more rampant in small outlets where the same unit dispenses diesel as well as petrol. The way to avoid such mix up is to ensure the right fuel before filling and the sticker would definitely help.
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Old 1st January 2013, 15:16   #8
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guna View Post
I am surprised that your friend did not realize it while paying for the fuel after filling as the price difference is significant.
You are right, Guna. He asked the attendant to add petrol for 1,000 Rupees. Took the bill, slipped it to the purse, paid and left the pump. The possibility of such a reckless slip was probably misjudged.

@ Rxpaul : Honda City has a 40 liter tank. So, for a long drive you will invariably tank up again on the way even if the journey was started with a full tank.

I have also heard that the nozzles of petrol and diesel dispnsing units are different in dimensions that a petrol nozzle would not go into the orifice of a diesel tank and vice versa. Not sure if this is a standard and adhered to everywhere especially in smaller pumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
The problem is more rampant in small outlets where the same unit dispenses diesel as well as petrol. The way to avoid such mix up is to ensure the right fuel before filling and the sticker would definitely help.
Precisely. In many bigger petrol pumps, as what we see in the cities, there are separate dispensing units for petrol and diesel.

At smallish pumps on the highway side, it is better to be cautious as the same unit gives both types of fuel. A sticker could help if the attendant knows how to read English . Shouting aloud is probably the best option.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:07. Reason: Quoted post deleted
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Old 1st January 2013, 15:39   #9
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Your idea of the sticker is very valid, I just realised I need to do the same And yes, Honda road side assistance is very prompt up here in North as well. The battery of my Honda City got drained once, and the technician arrived in less than 10 minutes of my placing the call!

Each time I get fuel filled up, I hold the attendant's attention for a couple of seconds and tell him very clearly "Normal Petrol". Only after he has acknowledged the same, I mention the amount to be filled.

These guys are generally distracted with 10 other things going on, so we should be proactive in making sure the correct fuel is being filled. Additionally, I have also noticed that most attendants assume a sedan or SUV to be inherently Diesel powered.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:10. Reason: Please do NOT use acronyms when referring to cars. Full make + model only please
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Old 1st January 2013, 16:31   #10
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Your friend was lucky that it was diesel in a petrol car. Petrol in a diesel car would have been disastrous.
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Old 1st January 2013, 18:00   #11
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

While stickering may be a good idea, it is not fool proof. Like in this case, since the attendant did not understand what was said and most likely he would not have read the sticker if there was one. One has to come out of the car and be there along with the attendant to oversee the filling.

And did your friend raise the issue with the filling pump while on the return journey?
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Old 1st January 2013, 21:20   #12
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Quite surprising that people still do not get down and check what dispenser is picked up and whether the meter is zero or not. I have seen this happen recently wherein a verna petrol was brimmed with diesel & the owner casually signed the cc bill while still in the car not even bothering to get down for the card swiping !
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Old 1st January 2013, 21:36   #13
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford5 View Post
Quite surprising that people still do not get down and check what dispenser is picked up and whether the meter is zero or not. I have seen this happen recently wherein a verna petrol was brimmed with diesel & the owner casually signed the cc bill while still in the car not even bothering to get down for the card swiping !
+1 to this.

I make it a point to step out of the car and stand next to the attendant filling the fuel. Helps to avoid malpractices that purely rely on the carelessness of the driver ( like not resetting to zero etc), and mistakes like fuel mix-up etc.
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Old 1st January 2013, 21:42   #14
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Very surprising as Honda City doesn't come with diesel option, had it been a swift it would have been understandable to an extent as diesel swift if quite popular along with petrol.
Being careful is the only option, sticker will help if the attendant can read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Glad to know Honda came up good in help and service department. I had used them last year when we were stranded on the middle of a highway at 00:00 hrs (Midnight). Help arrived soon as promised (i was about 50Kms away from any sort of human population).
mayank, just curious to know how your civic which is ~ 1 yr old can leave you stranded

Last edited by GTO : 2nd January 2013 at 14:09. Reason: Please do NOT use acronyms when referring to cars. Full make + model only please
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Old 1st January 2013, 21:53   #15
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Default Re: Courteous Honda service after a nasty fuel mix-up

Quote:
Originally Posted by raihan View Post
mayank, just curious to know how your civic which is ~ 1 yr old can leave you stranded
It was an accident in the middle of the night about 50 kms before Hyderabad while returning from Nagpur, No fault of 1 year old Civic you see . For more details do take a look at my ownership thread.
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