Likelihood of reimbusement for bad gas-caused problems?

I got gas last weekend on my way out of town for a road trip. I had gone to the station before, but do not go on a regular basis. After driving for about 80 miles (including some mountains-- northern Gerogia), the car decided to stop going (it didn’t totally die, but gas obviously wasn’t getting to the engine). We stopped & restarted after a couple of minutes, but after this happened a second & the check engine light came on, we took it to a repair shop.

They tried replacing the fuel filter (which was clogged); that didn’t work, so they drained the tank and replaced the fuel pump, which had burnt out from trying to inject (dirty) fuel into the engine through the old & dirty filter. Everything from there on out was fine-- made it through the mountains and back home no problem.

My question is this: the car is a 2005 Ford Focus, not even 50,000 miles on it. The auto repair guys were fairly certain I had filled up with bad gas, which caused all of these problems & the repair bill. Does anyone know the liklihood that the “bad gas” came from the station I filled up at that day, or could it have come from the previous fill-up? Also, any idea the likelihood of getting reimbursed from the gas station?


The likelihood is zero. While the gas may have been bad, you yourself state that the car had an old and dirty fuel filter.

Unless you have a sample of the fuel in a container, a sworn statement from the mechanic, and a scientific breakdown of the fuel and the crud found in the ruined fuel filter. There’s not much you can do.

I should correct that-- the filter was dirty because of the bad gas. We had a new filter put on at the last oil change, a couple thousand miles back. (I wrote “old” simply to differentiate it from the new one he replaced it with, which became dirty in the five minutes we drove on it before the car stopped working and we had to take it back to get the fuel pump replaced…)

Got the fuel sample, I’m sure the mechanic would sign a statement, but even with that, seems to me that gas station could say I just put some dirt in some gas & called it a sample, in order to get a refund…

Well you seem to have the information you need, with the exception of the question you really asked. The problem is, as I see it, the only answer to that question is … maybe.

I suspect strongly that it was the last one you filled up at. Have you contacted them to find out if they know of the problem? I got a bad load of gas one time. I got about two miles away before my car stopped. They don’t run well on water, despite what the H?0tgas people say. I found I had about an inch of gas floating on 12 inches of water. When I walked in, they where towing cars in who had the same problem. I got about twice as far as any of the others. Golf OIl agreed to pay for my cost and my time.

Give the station a call or stop by and see what they say. If they don’t seem to want to take care of things right, call the home office.

It is called chain of evidience,very important in protecting the innocent.

I always ask people that report bad gas to try and connect with others that got bad gas that day. It certainly looks better for you if 15 others had the same problem.

Likewise if only you were affected that doesn’t help your case.

You need to contact the stations(s) and see if they had a rash of reports about bad gas on the same day you purchased. I suspect that (1) they may not tell you the truth; (2) had no incentive to answer you even in a letter, because you were transient.

I can remember of only one gasoline company take responsibility for bad gas, and that was last year when five tankers left the depot with contaminated fuel. They pinpointed exactly which stations received the gas and the customers involved got their car repaired as needed, on a reimbursable basis.

I have never seen any other station/brand take responsibility, and I have been buying gas since 1967, so good luck.

You said the mechanic was “fairly certain.” That doesn’t sound like 100% certain to me.

The fact that the fuel pump was burned out suggests that this may have been a problem long before that last tank of gas. It just seems to me that you should look to the places where you normally buy gas rather than this one station. After all, the effects could have taken a long time to be noticed.

Also keep in mind that when you filled up, the new gas mixed with old gas, contaminating the sample you have kept.

You might have a hard time proving that the rest of the gas you bought since the fuel filter replacement didn’t contribute to the problem.

Good luck.

Several years ago Shell sold gasoline that contained sulfur. They confessed and paid claims.

Are you saying that you never changed the fuel filter in roughly the first 50k miles until the last oil change?
If so, maybe the contamination existed long before the last batch of gasoline and the old filter is what did the pump in rather than the recent filter possibly catching some of the remaining debris.

Fuel filters should be changed every 15k miles and even more often if contamination is even suspected. If you have not done this then odds are your actions are what contributed to the pump failure.

It is possible to get reimbursement on a legitimate, verifiable claim but based on what is related so far I have to agree your chances are zero as you may have contributed to the problem by not changing the filter on a regular basis.
Anyone who follows my posts on this board knows that I carp constantly about changing the fuel filter regularly to prevent fuel pump death.

You can always ask the gas station. A few times in our area(NH) we had some cases fuel problems. Once a leak of water into tanks causing some issues. Another issue was to some really hardworking Indian folks who owned a small gas station(yummy Indian food delights for sale in there). The delivery person put diesel into their regular unleaded tanks.

Both times the stations and distributors paid out most claims.

This happened to me in early January. I learned more about E10 gas than you can imagine. Everyone, it seems, wants to blame everything else but the gasoline. The station owner said there was “zero percent” possibility it was his gas that caused it. Yet I had receipts, a sample of the contaminated gasoline, the ruined fuel pump, and the mechanic’s statement. It took a while, but I contacted corporate and they finally paid the full bill.

Only after a class action lawsuit was filed. Google this and you’ll find all the gory details.

There was a brand name gas station near us that got a bad batch of gas, they put an ad in the paper and paid for whatever repairs due to the bad gas. Basically there were numerous reports of failure shortly after filling up, so complain and keep in touch. It is the first time I have heard of it, but it does happen evidentially.