VW to Retrofit Late-Model Diesel Vehicles to Prevent Misfueling

Pumping gasoline into the tank of a diesel vehicle can be a costly mistake. To prevent that from happening, Volkswagen of America has issued a service action and will refit 209,500 diesel vehicles in the U.S., according to Automotive News. Affected models are TDI versions of the 2009-12 Jetta, the 2010-12 Golf and the 2009-12 Jetta SportWagen.

"As diesel engine passenger vehicles become more popular, auto manufacturers have seen an increase in the number of misfueling cases where diesel engine vehicles are mistakenly fueled with gasoline," VW said in the notice to dealers. "The resulting fuel system contamination can lead to costly repairs that are not covered under warranty."

The service action involves retrofitting affected vehicles with a fuel filler neck cap and a sleeve to prevent owners from mistakenly inserting gasoline nozzles, which have a smaller diameter than diesel fuel nozzles. Running a diesel car on gasoline can cause it to stall. The leading manufacturer of diesel vehicles in the U.S., VW redesigned 2013 vehicles to accept only diesel fuel nozzles. If a driver tries to insert a gas nozzle instead of a diesel nozzle, the fuel tank gate stays shut.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received about 160 complaints about the issue, many of them from VW itself. NHTSA began investigating VW diesel vehicles in February 2011 after receiving dozens of complaints linked to failed fuel pumps. Most of the complaints involved gasoline in the tanks. NHTSA has upgraded its investigation to an engineering analysis, which can lead to a recall — but that hasn’t happened yet.

VW said it will begin contacting owners May 28; dealers will add a misfueling guard and fuel filler neck cap to affected 2009-12 vehicles free of charge to customers. For more information, call VW at 800-822-8987.

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