Toyota claiming wrong fuel used

beasty54

Distinguished Member
Hi Guys

Just recently one of our hire cars at work has broken down twice, it's only driven by one member of staff so there's no confusion as to who has been driving. The first breakdown was sorted on the side of the road, the RAC guy got it working again and it seemed to be fine for 300 ish miles. The second time was similar but the car was apparently even less unresponsive and wouldn't go above 20mph, it had to be towed away in the end. The report came back yesterday suggesting that the car (Corolla Hybrid) had been filled with diesel rather than Petrol, something the driver has absolutely denied... I don't even think it's possible due to the diesel pumps not fitting?

I've now had a more in depth response suggesting that after draining the tank and testing the fuel, it is indeed contaminated and with a clean tank of petrol, the car is running "much better". They have confirmed the O2 sensor is damaged from the smoke coming out of the exhaust and they've suggested the tank may have been filled using a can, again the driver has said he's never used a can to refill a car in his life. Another comment was that the car reported "Hybrid system fault and fuel system lean" which are apparently both indicators of the vehicle having been run very low or potentially completely out of fuel, the driver has said that there's no way the car has been much lower than a quarter of a tank while he's had it, he generally does long runs so keeps it relatively full. The car also had oil cleaned off the engine apparently, and a service between the two incidents also mention oil under the engine so, something just doesn't add up to me.

Toyota have said they still have the contaminated fuel sample and can test it if need be, i'll ask them to do this but i just wondered if there's any mechanics on here that may have a better understanding of what might have happened? or if there's a known issue with Corollas (70 plate) that might help explain?
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Does it have a tracker? If so might be able to see where it didn’t break down and didn’t get filled with the wrong can?
 

beasty54

Distinguished Member
Does it have a tracker? If so might be able to see where it didn’t break down and didn’t get filled with the wrong can?

No tracker unfortunately.
 

beasty54

Distinguished Member
I also forgot to mention that the spark plugs were covered in oil according to the RAC guy, Toyota have said they've replaced them because of it having the wrong fuel. I'm certainly no mechanic but is that even possible? Oil on the spark plugs due to the wrong fuel?
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
I'm not saying it has but I can see that diesel could effectively wash the bores rather than ignite and oil up the plugs. Unfortunately I think the answer here is most likely the obvious one.
 

beasty54

Distinguished Member
I'm not saying it has but I can see that diesel could effectively wash the bores rather than ignite and oil up the plugs. Unfortunately I think the answer here is most likely the obvious one.
If it had been anyone else driving I'd probably agree but I'm not so sure on this ocassion. I don't believe for one second that he used a can to fill it, it makes absolutely no sense why he'd even have one and then, with the diesel pump not even fitting inside the filler neck, it's unlikely the wrong fuel was used.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member

nvingo

Distinguished Member
The first breakdown was sorted on the side of the road, the RAC guy got it working again and it seemed to be fine
Can the RAC guy provide a record of his remedy?
The second time was similar but the car was apparently even less unresponsive and wouldn't go above 20mph
Less responsive?
I don't even think it's possible due to the diesel pumps not fitting?
Might not go into the neck but wouldn't prevent it dispensing?
"Hybrid system fault and fuel system lean" which are apparently both indicators of the vehicle having been run very low or potentially completely out of fuel, the driver has said that there's no way the car has been much lower than a quarter of a tank while he's had it,
What is the electric range of the car? There should be no need to refill from a can, once it's 'very low' on fuel, use electric to get to a pump.
So this leaves the possibility that someone the driver knows is secretly borrowing the car.
 

gibbo52

Active Member
Go to the garage with the fuel and tip a bit on the floor, if it evaporates quick then it's petrol if it doesn't then it's contaminated.
 

beasty54

Distinguished Member
Go to the garage with the fuel and tip a bit on the floor, if it evaporates quick then it's petrol if it doesn't then it's contaminated.
That's about as useful as your first post I'm afraid.
 

beasty54

Distinguished Member
Well for me that's the solution as you don't seem to believe the garage.

Not necessarily, I've dealt with mis-fueling issues before but a lot of what's happened with this car doesn't add up that's all. It's the driver as well, it really isn't someone i'd doubt, he's admitted he can't say for sure he hasn't made the mistake when filling however, that's extremely unlikely since the nozzle won't fit and it wouldn't then dispense (I've accidentally tried once)

What i meant about your response being unhelpful was that i'm almost certain what the answer would be if i turn up at the garage and ask them if i can tip the sample on the floor. All i was hoping for was that maybe someone might have come across a similar issue before, if i don't get any help though, i'll probably have to accept what Toyota are saying.
 

depot

Well-known Member
Might be a long shot, but if you have the date and approximate time the driver filled up you could ask the garage to view it’s cctv to confirm which fuel was used.
 

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