You see a gas station offering prices that are significantly lower than anywhere else and your eyes light up at the sight of a bargain. You gleefully fill the tank, hand over the cost of the gas and drive away at the satisfaction of saving a few bucks. Or so you thought…
There may be a good reason why that station offered cheap gas – it might be contaminated. Motorists can very easily be caught out by dirty gas and they only realize the problem when their car starts chugging unexpectedly, or a series of previously unnoticed dashboard lights scream at you to stop. Ultimately, the costs of repairing your vehicle after filling up on contaminated gas make it far more economical to opt for a higher-priced filling station with a good name for providing reliable gas.
If you notice warning signs such as an unusual rattling sound from the car’s engine, the ‘check engine’ light coming on suddenly, the vehicle idling roughly or the car even coming to a sudden halt, these hint at the presence of contaminated gas in your tank. Should you detect any of these, pull over straight away if it is safe to do so. If you bought gas in the last couple of days, or if you think you know where you can trace back the problem, contact the offending gas station and notify them of the issue. They might accept that they sold you dodgy gas, which usually leads to a placid resolution of the matter, or they could dig their heels in and deny any wrongdoing. In the latter scenario, get your mechanic to take a sample of the gas and check it for contamination. If they confirm that it’s contaminated, it’s time to take matters a step further and get the consumer watchdog involved.
Of course, if it gets to this point, the onus is on you to produce receipts verifying the offending transaction, as well as keeping a sample of the dirty gas. Without this evidence, you have very little chance of being reimbursed by the gas station that sold you the fuel, unless they agree to a discrete settlement in exchange for your silence.
The infographic below from Woodstock Motors (http://www.woodstockmotors.co.uk/) provides a well-informed guide as to what you should do if you suspect that your car has contaminated fuel, as well as the main alarm bells to look out for. The next time you spot a gas station offering what seem to be unbeatable prices, think about what you could be putting into your car and the heartache it could cause if the gas is as cheap as the prices at which it is being sold.