People putting the wrong fuel in the tank has always been an issue in New Zealand. Industry figures would suggest there are about 30,000 misfuellings each year.

This year we’ve uncovered another issue and we’re warning New Zealanders about the dangers of adding Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) mistakenly to their fuel.

DEF which goes under brand names including Ad Blue and Go Clear is sold at the pump and its purpose is to reduce vehicle exhaust pollution.

The fluid is for the exhaust systems of trucks, buses and some high-end European makes and in those vehicles, there is a completely separate tank to hold the product. It’s never intended to go into the fuel tank.

Above: Some fillers are incorporated in the same fuel flap.

At AMI, we are consistently receiving claims related to this, but the issue has significantly increased recently as these additive products become more available in some fuel station forecourts and unstaffed truck stops.

When someone inadvertently puts a product like Ad Blue or Go Clear in their fuel tank, they risk catastrophic damage to the entire fuel system and the motor.

Repairs can take three to five weeks or more, depending on the make and model of vehicle and the cost to put the vehicle back on road can be tens of thousands of dollars.

To date the most expensive repair was on a near new Toyota Landcruiser which cost approximately $40,000.

Above: A vehicle has had an additive put in the fuel tank and the engine is beyond repair.

It is important to remember that not all insurance policies will provide cover for damage caused by DEF and others have a sub-limit which may not cover the full cost of repairs.

All parts have to be replaced and in the case of a vehicle still under a manufacturer’s warranty, not having the vehicle repaired to an approved process could void the warranty.