Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Electronics/fuel at a garage.........opinions sought please  (Read 1364 times)


  • Joined May 2009
  • Stirlingshire
Electronics/fuel at a garage.........opinions sought please
« on: February 03, 2016, 08:18:47 pm »
Today was ok, generally because it was sunny. But I was guilty of major good friend failure when asked to help a friend with her wee campervan.

She asked me to come with her to the yard where she stores her van. She bought it in the autumn and then took it for a 1,000 mile tour of the far north (of Scotland). It wouldn't start so the 3 kind gents there plugged it into the mains and we were motoring. We set off and after 8 miles pulled into a garage to fill up. I told her not to turn the ignition off.  She ignored me and after filling up we had to call the RAC.

So four hours later I am home, relieved I could call on another friend at hen bedtime. My choox are ok.

Does anyone know if the warning at garages about turning off your engine before refuelling is important?


  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Electronics/fuel at a garage.........opinions sought please
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2016, 09:37:50 pm »
OK so the answer to this one is yes and no.... now I sound like a lawyer!

"Yes" because the risk is that a spark could ignite petrol vapour and result in a fireball.
"No" because the likelihood of it happening is minimal providing there is not a massive fuel spillage and there's plenty of air around the vapour.  Just think how difficult it is to light a match or cigarette lighter and keep the flame going, then think about that flame jumping to vapour in the air and staying alight long enough to set either the vehicle tank or the pump itself alight.

I've been in the situation, many years ago, where I explained to the garage owner that I was having problems and the car likely wouldn't start if I switched the engine off... he allowed me to keep the motor running while he fuelled the petrol car.  I was the only vehicle on the forecourt, and there was a good breeze so the risk was minimised.

You don't say if the vehicle was petrol or diesel.  If diesel, the risk (providing there's no one else around spraying petrol) is close to zero as diesel requires very high temperatures to burn (it works on compression not ignition). 

I recall a bad winter in the 90s where we lit trays of oil and straw underneath the diesel tanks of the farm tractors and trucks and let them burn for a couple of hours to heat the diesel (I'd been out in the morning and had problems with the diesel freezing in the pipes whilst I was driving). 

As an aside, if ever you are in a situation where you are filling a vehicle tank with fuel and there is fire, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, pull the fuel nozzle out of the tank.  Push it in as far as it will go and let go of the trigger.  This will stop the fuel coming through the pump and will also help to smother the flame by reducing the air intake to the tank (it's why there's a rubber ring between the trigger and the nozzle - it should cover the entire filler hole to prevent air.  Without air the fuel will not burn/explode and you can prevent a really nasty accident this way.  Natural instinct is to pull the nozzle out not push it in.

As an aside, I'm guessing as it started when it was 'plugged into the mains' that the problem is the battery.  If so, then she should either get a trickle charger for the battery if she's leaving it parked up for a few days (you can get a solar one that sits on the dashboard and connects to the battery to keep it ticking over).  If the battery is completely discharged she'll need to fully recharge it using a mains charger.  However, if the battery has been damaged/is dead it may be beyond recovery and she may need a new one.  If it's a wet battery she should also check the cells are covered with de-ionised water.  You can often take a battery to an auto electrical dealer to be checked and new batteries (depending on the vehicle) start from around 30 quid.  Modern vehicles are really hard on batteries because of all the electronics that are running permanently (alarm, central locking etc).  If I'm leaving my car garaged for a couple of weeks I leave a mains trickle charger on it to ensure I don't have problems when I need it to go somewhere in a hurry.

Hope this helps and I'm not teaching granny to suck eggs!
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.


  • Joined May 2009
  • Stirlingshire
Re: Electronics/fuel at a garage.........opinions sought please
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2016, 12:06:48 am »
Thank you Scarlet that is v informative.


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