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Old 26th July 2010, 15:08   #1
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Default Car Break Down due to Adulterated Petrol!

This happened during our trip from navi Mumbai to Bangalore for a business trip.

We started Tuesday night 20th July 2010 at 8:00 P.M, me and my friend ‘fastlove’ also a member here from Navi Mumbai for Bangalore- destination -Electronic city Bangalore. Car - Ford Fusion (P).

First Stop was at HP Pump near Kharghar where we topped up the Fuel Tank.

We were doing good times till Hubli which we passed around 3:30 A.M. Fuel was getting really low and we wanted to refuel.

I spotted one HP (looked new) on the opp side, towards Mumbai (shiggaon) of the road, near the Bankapur toll naka (abt 10-15 kms before).

The petrol pump name - Narahari & Company.

We were the only one at the Pump as the attendants were also not around. We got them up after banging on the glass door inside the cabin where they were sleeping. After 10 minutes we had filled 41 litres of Power Petrol @ 59Rs/ litre.

Now, starts the Trouble!! I tried to start the car after the fuel was completely filled up. My car started, moved a little, shuddered and stopped. After that the car just refused to start.

This is around 4:30 am, called the petrol bunk attendant to complain about the situation and to which he refuted and confidently said the problem is with the car only.

Then we started thinking what could have gone wrong as I had come from Bombay till here covering around 600 Km and suddenly after filling up, the car won’t start.

We initially suspected battery problem, but the voltages and everything was showing ok. Tried push starting that too did not work!

I feared the worse!

It was about 4:30 A.M in the morning. we frantically tried calling ford service helpline, their main road side assistance help line number was switched off!! Called the Ford mondial no. they said Hubli was out of their coverage area network! Somehow managed to get on the phone the Metro ford service guys at Hubli, explained the problem to them and they said they will be on their way in about an hour or so, which they did couple of hours later. They also suspected battery problem initially. In fact they were almost sure about it.

Meanwhile, I rechecked my batteries and I could clearly see the battery showing about 12 volts and not going below 9 volts while cranking also rest of the battery operated stuff worked fine.

Tried push starting for 3-4 times and gave up..again tried cranking innumerable times and gave up.

Since I had the OBD connected to the laptop i quickly scanned for any DTCs, but that was all ok, there was no error codes.

Meanwhile, we just checked the smell of the petrol in car and it smelt weird, almost like kerosene or whatever but definitely not like petrol, immediately we lodged a complaint at the HP call centre IVR and also called the local bunk Manager/Owner.


Some local guys also confirmed that the petrol might be culprit. The manager arrived and he was all like there is no problem with the petrol here and we all regularly check and the HPCL guys also visit and bla bla bla...

The metro ford (Hubli) guys also arrived till then, it was almost 7:30 in the morning, We were tormented by out plight, exhausted with all the yelling which was going on, and we had no clue on what kind of mess we are getting into.

The ford guys opened up the fuel connector pipe near the engine and cranked the engine, what came out of the pipe was shocking!

It was water and not petrol!

He immediately told that there is water in our fuel tank!
We really got wild and started confronting the manager who was in no mood to accept what he just saw. Which he later then accepted as there was all proof in front of him to prove that there was water in the petrol filled in our tank?

In all the commotion we quickly asked the ford guys what level of damage this might have caused to the engine and how do we get back on the road again.

He said the car has to be towed down to their service station (about 60 kms opp way) the fuel tank, the spark plugs all has to be cleaned and then only it will start.

We had no other option but to have the vehicle towed back, meanwhile a temporary settlement was made between the manager of the petrol bunk and us that he would refund the money of the petrol we filled and all the labour cost of the cleanup job.

We had to be in b'lore the same day, so we reluctantly agreed for the same and took the photos etc. and were on our way to metro ford, hubli. It took about 4 hours to undo the mess. And we were finally able to hit the road by 2:00 Pm and reached Bangalore Electronic City by 7:30 P.M.
We missed our Appointment with our customer in Bangalore and had to reschedule the same for the next day.

This was the most frustrating time we have ever had. We fill petrol regularly from HPCL and now we are quite afraid to continue to do so after this horrifying experience.

We are thinking of taking Legal measures against HPCL and going to the Media with this ordeal we had to go through - Our Precious time wasted stranded on the highway; Fear of being attacked in an isolated place on NH4 in the darkness of the night; Our Car Damaged due to adulterated Petrol We also fear long term damage to our car which we are most concerned about.

We would require some suggestion on the best way to do it, we have collected enough photos/videos and also the petrol sample which we took from inside my petrol tank of the car in which water can be seen clearly.
Also I have the bill of the petrol pump from where I filled the petrol from. All the toll receipts for both ways are there with us too.

Last edited by Mpower : 28th July 2010 at 17:52. Reason: adding more visibility
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Old 26th July 2010, 15:31   #2
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Totally shocking . Water found in the petrol tank????? Worst thing to happen. As You have recorded proofs (bills, videos, pics), its better to escalate the matter to higher-ups in HPCL. A complaint can be lodged with Weights and Measures department (?). Hope, there won't be any problems with the car in future. Keep updating the thread.

EDIT: Can you post the pics (mentioned in your post)???

Last edited by mnhegde : 26th July 2010 at 15:44.
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Old 26th July 2010, 15:42   #3
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You should have asked the pump guys to fill in some petrol in a transparent bottle. That would have been more solid proof, for the petrol being adulterated with water.
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Old 26th July 2010, 15:43   #4
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OMG, firstly the fuel price is touching sky and we are been duped like this, HORRIBLE!

legal action is a must and try to get media attention and also if you could put the exact location of the bunk that will be helpful as it might save others from this agony!
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Old 26th July 2010, 15:47   #5
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That is a bad episode on the highway. Was it only some portion that was water? During rainy season, water contamination tanks is quite commonplace and I think that is what must have happened thanks to the carelessness of the pump personnel, or a poorly-designed/built tank/intake valves.

One important lesson may be that you should have some fuel (quarter tank) in your fuel tank so that even if there is a little contamination, it gets diluted - but then, being water, will it result in a situation where the petrol floats in the top and the problems start when you run low on fuel? Or am I missing something - if the outlet from the fuel tank is in the bottom, it will be the water which flows out first?
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Old 26th July 2010, 15:58   #6
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Hi Netarchie.

that is a terrible incidence and ordeal you and your partner has to go through.

I suggest that you formally complain to HPCL along with the photogrpahs, receipts, statements from the Ford Service station etc.
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Old 26th July 2010, 16:00   #7
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1]Was that petrol pump without any roof?

2] If yes, then here is the problem.
Look at old type petrol dispenser where the nozzle is hanged upright facing the sky.
As it was night time, rain during that time may have caused accumulation of water in the nozzle pipe.
Same water may be dispensed in the tank during petrol filling.

Whatever may be the reason, customer suffered due to negligence.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 26th July 2010 at 16:01.
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Old 26th July 2010, 16:01   #8
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Callous dealers! I've seen such things happen in remote places. I had a similar experience on my way back from Goa, and even a few weeks back on route Nashik. Luckily my car only jerked and did not stall. I think the cleaning of the plugs and the tank'n fuel line will clear off the problem. But nothing can pay up for the harrowing time that you went through
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Old 26th July 2010, 16:03   #9
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Is it feasible to have a transparent pipe or at least a portion of the pipe could be made transparent?
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Old 26th July 2010, 16:09   #10
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This is the second incident that I am reading of water in petrol. A friend of mine faced the same issue when returning from Salem to bangalore. Some HPCL bunk on the highway. Luckily, he was able to reach home without problems. His Honda City refused to start the next day.

Only way I can think of countering this issue is to fill up in the cities/towns rather than filling in from unknown highway bunks.

Regards,
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Old 26th July 2010, 17:04   #11
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Jesus!! That is one thing you don't want to happen in a highway. You placed a complaint with HP, but will they follow up? What is the guarantee that such thing will not happen to another car? I really doubt unless some pressure is mounted on them.

Wont your case be a fit case for a consumer court case? I know adulteration food is punishable under law, but not sure about fuel adulteration. May be your case could open up that discussion as well if presented to the media.

And thank you for giving the exact location of the pump. Now we know which one to avoid. I frequent this road often and if I fill at Pune, I will have fuel till Ranibennur where there is a trusted BP bunk where I fill again, which takes me till Bangalore.

Nainar

Last edited by anainar : 26th July 2010 at 17:05.
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Old 26th July 2010, 17:38   #12
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We have already emailed to the HPCL complaint dept., and have got an response from HPCL Chief Regional Manager saying sorry ect.ect. which is obviously not enough in this case.

The manager spoke to me and has assured me that he will resolve the issue to my satisfaction.

We have lodged a complaint with the consumer cell also.

I have a sample of the petrol taken from my cars tank.
Will also try to post some pics.

I stepped into the petrol pump as it seems to be the club HP one and looked quite good, it had proper roof . It is a very new petrol pump I guess.

I only hope my car/engine will not have any long term damages due to this incident!

@HVkumar , dont know exactly how the water got into the fuel pipe first, but maybe the nature of the fuel tank construction. I had very less fuel in the tank about 3 liters.
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Old 26th July 2010, 19:27   #13
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This brings us to a conclusion. Rainy days, pour initial petrol in a pet bottle. Then check for water. If yes then take appropriate steps. Fill only when safe.
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Old 26th July 2010, 20:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnhegde View Post
A complaint can be lodged with Weights and Measures department (?).
Weights and Measures Can do nothing in this Case There Area Of responsibility as the Name Suggests is To DO with QUANTITY Dispensed,and not The Quality. PLus This is one Of the Most Corrupt deptt in the country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
You should have asked the pump guys to fill in some petrol in a transparent bottle. That would have been more solid proof, for the petrol being adulterated with water.
Of all the cases that i have come across this will NOt hold as proof so it is fruitless to take a sample in a bottle.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
1]Was that petrol pump without any roof?

2] If yes, then here is the problem.
Look at old type petrol dispenser where the nozzle is hanged upright facing the sky.
As it was night time, rain during that time may have caused accumulation of water in the nozzle pipe.
Same water may be dispensed in the tank during petrol filling.
.
Nope Its Not due To Abscence of any roofs Its a clear case of Water leaking into the TAnk.


The Dealers in these cases are never worried Because we as Dealers Tell the Company Infinite No. Of times that water leaks into tanks, the companies choose to do nothing as the maintenance of the entire Bunk is the co. responsibilty and Since everyone is well aware of the Tender Process in Our beloved country the contractors do a Horrendous job and dealers and the customers suffer

What consumers are unaware of is that almost every bunk faces Water Leakage isues but These things come out in the cases of bunks that sell very Less volumes and the water jus keep accumalating leading to such sad incidents.

Sad to hear about Your Ordeal but to tell You very frankly the most that HPCL will do is kiss up too You and apologisse Infinitely till you are satisfied and thats what they Do best
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Old 26th July 2010, 20:56   #15
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^^ In that case there is too much fuel wasted and too much water seeping in the tanks. What about the customers who filled before the OP and the ones after (if the OP was not stranded ?) All the customers will face the same problem untill the tank goes dry and it is not cleaned again.
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