Costs involved in getting a Fuel Drain
A quick search on-line will give a vast range in prices to have the wrong fuel drained from a vehicle. There are websites stating that they will do a drain "from £99", and there are those that quote closer to £200. And then there are the dealership rates which can vary from a couple hundred to many thousands to fix wrong fuel problems.
So, why is there such a large variation in prices?
Before looking at the costs involved in getting a fuel drain it is important to understand what goes into setting up a fuel drain service.
In order to be qualified and competent in dealing with all vehicle makes and models, all fuel systems, and contaminated fuel, a service provider should have these things in place as a minimum:
- Competent training on all vehicle fuel systems
- Public Liability Insurance to safeguard themselves and their customers
- Professional and standardised fuel drain equipment. This will include not only their vehicle itself, but also certified fuel retrieval systems which comply with government legislature on the handling of flammable and hazardous liquids
- Environment Agency registration as a Waste Carrier for safe transportation and disposal of contaminated fuel
- Health & Safety training (including Safety Pass Alliance certification) for the purpose of safeguarding themselves, their customers, and the general environment. This training would include certification for working on petrol station forecourts
- Competent and qualified fuel drain technicians and call-centre or customer support personnel
- Company and VAT registration
If the service provider you are looking at does not have these things then they are most likely a "cowboy" operation passing off as a legitimate fuel drain company. Steer clear of these types as there is no guarantee that they have the know-how, experience or qualifications to safely deal with your vehicle without the risk of damaging it (and without valid insurance there will be no recourse options available).
What does a fuel drain cost depend on?
Now that you have weeded out the charlatans it's time to look at a legitimate fuel drain company's pricing structure. There is never a "one price fits all" as every vehicle and circumstance is unique. These are some of the factors that will have a bearing on the price:
- Type of vehicle: Every vehicle is different. Some have a single fuel tank which is easily accessible to specialist fuel drain equipment. Others have split fuel tanks which require a different and more time-consuming approach to drain. And yet other have completely inaccessible fuel tanks which require draining from the engine of the vehicle.
Then there's the matter of self-priming fuel pumps, different fuel filter locations, complicated hybrid systems, and a host of other factors that change the way a fuel drain has to be done. Each of which will have an impact on the time it takes to do the drain, and therefore on the cost as well.
- Location of the vehicle: The vehicle's location will have a bearing on the distance the technician needs to travel to attend it. Obviously the further away it is the longer it will take to do, and the more expensive it will be.
- Type of contamination: This has a big impact on the final price. A simple drain on a vehicle contaminated with the wrong fuel is fairly straight forward. Complications start to arise when looking at contamination with substances like water, AdBlue, red diesel, biofuel, etc. Each of these different contamination sources present their own unique challenges when draining and cleaning out the fuel system. Some will require that a new fuel filter is fitted. Others involve multiple flushes of the fuel system.
This factor of contamination type has the largest impact on the fuel drain cost.
- Started or not: Whether or not the vehicle has been started or run on the contaminated fuel also has an impact on the price. A non-started vehicle simply required a tank drain. Those that have been started will need to have the entire fuel system flushed and cleaned out. This obviously takes longer and will likely cost more.
- Urgency of the call-out: You will generally find that you can get a cheaper price if the drain is booked in advance as opposed to an emergency call-out.
With all these things considered a professional wrong fuel drain service should cost anywhere between £150 and £220 plus VAT (whether or not the service provider is VAT registered will tell you a lot about them - they are either a very small, "one-man-band" set-up operating under the VAT threshold, or they are actively dodging the tax-man. And if they are happy to defraud the government, they will likely have no problem doing the same to you).
This brings up the question as to why dealerships will often charge a customer thousands of pounds to correct the wrong fuel.
Dealership Fuel Drain Prices
Taking a misfuelled car to a dealership for a fuel drain will often incur more costs than the simple drainage. Very often a dealership will be required to change or replace all fuel system components which have come into contact with the contaminated fuel.
They do this as the manufacturer can no longer guarantee or warranty any parts or components so contaminated, and they would rather replace them as a cautionary exercise than have them fail at some point in the future.
We have seen bills in excess of £9,000 for the complete service from a Mercedes dealership in the southeast.
As a note: it is almost never necessary to replace everything that has come into contact with the contaminated fuel. We are called out to over 300 misfuelled vehicles every single week and we probably only see one vehicle every few months that needs anything replaced or repaired. In the vasy majority of situations a simple fuel drain would solve the problem.
Who is Wrong Fuel Drain?
We are a UK national Wrong Fuel Drain service. Our technicians are fully mobile and able to attend any vehicle breakdown in almost any location.
All call staff and roadside technicians are trained in-house on our thorough and stringent wrong fuel and Health & Safety syllabus. This is in addition to any mandatory qualifications they hold for their positions.
We have been operating for over a decade as specialists in the wrong fuel recovery industry, and therefore have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field.
You could not be in safer hands.
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