Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Auto repair shops seeing more fuel-injector issues - ... some blame bad gas

Published:Thursday | December 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Owners of high-end motor vehicles have been bearing the brunt of a series of mechanical problems that they attribute to bad petrol being sold on the local market, and some operators of automotive repair shops and garages are confirming these reports.

Owner of Kurt's Auto Works, Kurt Hudson, told The Gleaner yesterday that he was aware of the current situation, and that he has been dealing with several clients with problems caused by the use of bad petrol.

"It's mainly one thing I've been doing more of in the last two weeks, and that is injector cleaning. It's mostly vehicles with what they call direct fuel injection. These injectors have much smaller holes," Hudson said.

He continued: "I used to do maybe one a month, and I've done about six in the past week and a half."

Hudson also said he had seen issues with fuel filters. Fuel filters are found in the fuel lines of gas tanks and screen out dirt and rust particles from fuel.

"In these cars nowadays, the filter is really designed to last forever. It's in the fuel tank, and it's not something that's supposed to be changed. They are very expensive because it is not something that happens every day (filter issues), and it's all the newer cars that are affected," Hudson said.

MIXED RESPONSES

Checks were made by The Gleaner at other automotive dealerships and the responses were mixed. Some say they have encountered similar problems, while others are saying they have not had such complaints.

The Gleaner spoke with two representatives from two different ATL Motors service departments and they reported that they have had issues with misfiring and fuel injectors.

Steve Chin, service manager at ATL Motors' Honda division, said he wasn't able to say whether the few misfiring cases he discovered are attributed to the usage of bad petrol.

"We've had about four persons that came in here with misfiring, but I don't know if it's related to bad petrol, because we have [had] no cases where customers have been complaining about receiving bad petrol," Chin explained.

Joelle Raye-Smith, the service underwriter at ATL's Audi division, said she has heard from her customers and her mechanics, who strongly believe that bad petrol is the cause of the issues in many cases, but cannot confirm if there is a direct link.

She said some persons have had to replace injectors because of how the fuel reacts to their vehicles.

"There are so many different elements that may be the cause of how these cars are actually functioning, so we can't say, definitely, it's the fuel that's actually causing it," Smith said.

Several calls to rural operators were unsuccessful.

Junior Energy Minister Julian Robinson said results from islandwide testing will determine the next step. He said the intention is to conduct tests at all gas stations to determine how widespread the problem is.

- Jason Cross