ENON — An area couple’s vehicle sustained thousands of dollars of damage after they said they unknowingly filled their tank with fuel mixed with diesel at an Enon gas station.
Shaun Desmarais said the last time he and his wife got fuel was Jan. 12 at an Enon Speedway. Shortly after, their car troubles began.
“It was kind of like stalling out,” he said. “It was running super rough. The engine was misfiring and it basically died.”
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After a week of troubleshooting different issues and trying different repairs, Desmarais took the vehicle into Dave Dennis Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
The verdict? Diesel fuel.
“[They said] there is diesel in our gas and that it has worked its way through pretty much the entire fuel system,” Desmarais said. “The fuel tank, the pump, the fuel filter, the injectors, the spark plugs, everything.”
Once he heard diagnosis, Desmarais said his first thought was “ that’s expensive.”
“They said anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000,” he said. “They came in just under $4,000 with our claim and our estimate.”
He believes that the diesel fuel got into his tank somehow when using an unleaded gas pump at the Enon Speedway.
“That’s pretty much the only place we get gas, but I know that was the last time we put gas in that car,” he said.
News Center 7’s Katy Andersen spoke to three different dealerships in the Miami Valley — Dave Dennis, Wagner Subaru and Germain Honda of Beavercreek — that have serviced vehicles with the same issue. The customers they spoke to said they got gas at the same Enon Speedway.
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None of the dealerships were able to give an exact number of how many customers they’ve serviced due to fuel issues.
Desmarais said he’s spoken to around 10 or a dozen others on Facebook with similar issues. However, he wondered how many people may be struggling the same problem but aren’t aware of the cause yet.
Wayne Wilson, the service manager at Wagner Subaru, said they’ve seen at least one vehicle with complications due to bad fuel.
“Our master technician did a fuel sample and lo and behold the fuel was a green color and that kind of was a red flag,” he said. “It looked like diesel.”
The customer told them that they had gotten gas just an hour before they started seeing issues.
Luckily, Wagner Subaru was able to switch out the gas and replace some spark plugs that were damaged by the fuel.
Wilson said that it can vary how soon motorists can experience car trouble from bad gas.
“It depends on how low your fuel is when you get the bad fuel,” he said. “If you go in with a half a tank of fuel and get bad fuel it may not show up right away.”
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And once your car starts acting funny, it’s important to have it looked at quickly.
“It can cause some damage to your fuel system, but not just your fuel system,” Wilson said.
Depending on the damage, he said it could cost several thousands of dollars to fix.
Common signs of complications due to bad gas are issues starting the vehicle, a flashing check engine light and a vehicle running rough.
Desmarais has reached out to Speedway and filed a claim with the company.
He said the company sent him a letter confirming that they received the claim and that it is pending investigation.
“We get that stuff happens,” said Desmarais. “Our main goal is just to let other people know that this did happen and if they’re experiencing similar symptoms this is probably what it is and it would probably just be better to get it checked out rather than keep flushing the diesel through your system.”
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He said that Speedway has been receptive toward the situation so far, but that it’s still early in the process.
“We just want our car to run like it was and not be out any money,” Desmarais said. “You don’t expect to be out $4,000 when you put $50 of gas in your car.”
News Center 7 has reached out to Speedway’s corporate office for comment.