Fuel theft during services

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 19:33
ThreadID: 55845 Views:3825 Replies:9 FollowUps:24
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TWICE now I reckon I've had fuel knocked off out of the tank while having work done on the vehicle. The first time at a dealer getting a service - my fuel light came on about a kilometre from the dealer when driving to drop the vehicle off - in my Pajero I know that leaves about 17L in the 90L tank. I picked the vehicle up that afternoon, drove about 3km and put 85L in! Should have been about 74-75L tops. Reckon 10L had been syphoned off.

Has happened again this week - dropped vehicle off at an unrelated business, had some work done, dropped into a servo to fill it up - I'd only driven 69km since filling the tank last, but wanted to track the economy in light of the work that had been done to the engine - should have taken about 11L - instead the tank took 16L. That might sound like it's within reasonable doubt limits - but it's equivalent to 23L/100km! The absolute most the Pajero has ever posted is 18L, and that was after a full day of doing a 4WD training course in low range. So, another 5L into someone else's tank.

Short of putting a booby trap under the fuel filler cap, what can you to prevent this? Put some tape across the fuel cap to discourage someone disturbing it?
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Reply By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 19:41

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 19:41
Why not just put a fuel lockable cap on and keep the key?
AnswerID: 294270

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 19:43

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 19:43
ooops

I meant to say ' why not put a lockable fuel cap on and keep the key"
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 19:52

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 19:52
Perhaps the pie shop on the road test was a fair way away
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Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 20:48

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 20:48
that will not work, they undo the fuel line under the bonnet and turn key on. pumps straight into drum. i know of a few places in Adelaide that does that to its customers, get five to ten LTS per car an never have to pay for fuel again. when it was brought up the guy said, test driving, checking this and that all takes fuel.
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Follow Up By: Member - Leave_enough_space - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:08

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:08
But I would expect there to be the relevant number of k's on the clock as well?
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Follow Up By: Member - shane (SA) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:27

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:27
I'm not saying its right just have seen it happen and a mate worked for a guy that did it. i tell everyone i know don't take your car to @#$%$# , i hate them thieving bastards.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:35

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:35
Take the K's when u take it in.
I usually do and if its got too many on it when I pick it up I ask exactly where did it go and why.
If you think they do that dont go back or open bonnet and see if fuel has been interfered with. It should show up as wet or cleaned area I would think. Do it in front of them so you can be sure it was them.
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Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:49

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:49
The kilometres were the same before and after - think maybe 1km on the service trip to the dealer. The fuel theft shows up in economy calculations too - like the jump to 23L/100km.

Might investigate a locking fuel cap - will be a PITA for daily use though.

Fuel filter in the Pajero is an in-tank unit, neither job involved it being touched.
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 22:03

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 22:03
"Might investigate a locking fuel cap - will be a PITA for daily use though."

Only use the locking fuel cap when you take the vehicle for a service.

Me personally I would be looking for somewhere else to take it unless you are in a small town with only one mechanic.

I can't believe what I have just read, things are worse out there than I thought.

Cheers

D


Simba, our much missed baby.

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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:35

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:35
Gday,
Dont tell eveyone?
Set the ba$tards up!
Then go and flog them!
Or call in at the cop shop on the way so you have some proof....
But still go and visit them!

Cheers
AnswerID: 294285

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:38

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 21:38
After a second read.......
How much do your fuel filters hold and how many do you have?
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Reply By: woodyWA - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 22:12

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 22:12
Once upon a time i reckon you would have been dreaming.....who would bother stealing $4 worth of fuel?? But now its up to and over $1.50 a litre its a bit more viable.

Next service fill your car right up before dropping it off and then refuel it right afterwards. Also try marking or "booby trapping" the fuel filler cover and fuel lines, so its obvious to you whether they have been somewhere they shouldnt have.
Nothing serious like, just a bit of texta or stickytape, similiar to marking oil filters to see if they get changed.

Woody
AnswerID: 294295

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 22:21

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 22:21
Dare i say it theres probably reds under the bed and all manor of other people out to get you?
honestly who the hecks gonna waste theitr time on a vehicle to get 10l here and 5 their?
youd wait until someone camre in with a full tank and take the whole lot!
I would be cracking a 6 pack and reminding my self while a few things in the universe are constant
things like the first flicker of a duel light aint especially when a small up or downhill or around a corner will do it every time
and the differnce between 11 and 16 litres is it clicking before you thought it would because you were holding the nozzle a bit different. Also depending on what work they did and conditions it could have been left idling for a while or shunted around the yard a fair bit as many yards ned to jostle vehicles for space which doesnt give exceptional economy.
I could go on and on with other reasons but im VERY surprised you would even notice and the very reason you would notice ould be the very reason you think youve been ripped off
AnswerID: 294299

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:08

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:08
I've got a complete fuel log book for this vehicle for the last 40,000km - I track consumption on every tank. I know the refilling quirks of the vehicle - there's a bloody big difference between 11L and 16L for 69km travel. I'm pretty consistent with filling the vehicle and don't stop at the first click - you can squeeze a couple of litres in after that, and I consistently do. Given the small diameter of the pipe from the filler cap to the tank, I'm pretty confident that there would be a variation of only about a litre or so between fills.

It's not hard to figure out - skimming 5-10L litres out of one or two vehicles a day is free fuel for someone, and it's small enough that *most* people wouldn't notice. Taking a whole bloody tankful from a customer would be obvious to anyone - take a car you've just put $100 in fuel in to get serviced, and pick it up with an empty tank? Who wouldn't notice.

The conspiracy theorist in me instead would suggest that they target 4WDs because the tanks are bigger and it's easier to hide 5-10L of difference on the fuel gauge.

Typical bloody ExplorOz - someone's always gotta have a go.
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:13

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:13
Sorry if you think im having a go but ive noticed for some reason thiose that worry the most abbout getting rippedof and spent the most amount of time securing items and locking everything up adding alarms etc tend to get the most stolen
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Follow Up By: Member - BIGDOG G (WA) - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:35

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:35
yeah Im buggard If I know......I think your all a bit pedantic.
Cant see em knocking off a couple litres.....didnt yu front them with your "suspicions" ? mind you if I was a honest mechanic and someone who counts cents suggested I pinched their fuel.......well, last time I fix their car.
Jesus....lighten up......take it to a full on proffesional shop, stop trying to save a cent by taking it to the cheapest you can find and then complain 'cause your (you think) 8ltres down.
'Yeah but it happened to a freind of my uncles cousins 2nd wife"
Yeah, yeah yeah.

Cheers...........BIGDOG
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Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 00:29

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 00:29
One place involved was a Mitsubishi dealer. I would expect them to be a professional shop. Where did I post that I was getting work done at the cheapest places I could find? Nor did I post the names of the actual businesses involved - because it *can't* be proven without actually catching the buggers in the act. It's only noticed when refilling and there's a shortfall in what should be left in the tank.

My father used to be in the windscreen game - 20 years ago he knew a panel beater who bragged about never paying for petrol because he would syphon off customers fuel when repairing damaged vehicles. Given the price of petrol 20 years ago compared to today, I'm sure it happens more often now! Hell, people go to the trouble of stealing number plates to commit "drive offs" from service stations - am I supposed to believe that for every hundred honest mechanics out there there's not one or two that aren't above nicking fuel? Or do mechanics have a monopoly on being the only 100% honest workforce in the country?

This thread was started asking for suggestions how to avoid it - thanks KiwiAngler for the one post that actually suggested a practical answer the original question.
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Follow Up By: Member - BIGDOG G (WA) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 00:56

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 00:56
Yeah fair enough Scubaroo, I guess what I have trouble getting my head around is.....
You would be the most fuel conscious person I have ever read about (or know). It just seems strange that different people keep pinching your fuel.
Is it possible you may have made mistakes with your calculations ?
I hope I dont read that you went shopping next week and that thieving trolly boy pinched your fuel.

Cheers.............BIGDOG
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Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 09:41

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 09:41
Both times I reckon it's happened it's been when the vehicle has been left in someone else's care for mechanical work - not random thefts when parked in driveways, car parks etc. The only other occasion where I've had fuel genuinely stolen from a vehicle was in 1995 - and that was obvious because a screwdriver had been used to jimmy open the fuel flap on a Datsun 200B I was driving, the tank had dropped by almost half - which would be a full jerrycan, and the rotten buggers footprints were still visible in the dew on the grass! That's what you get for living in Mayfield (dodgy suburb in Newcastle).

Calculating consumption for every tank is a habit I picked up off my dad. On older cars it's picked up faults like a leaking fuel filter when consumption suddenly spiked.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 20:30

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 20:30
Nobody is worried, but the apprentice there steals 5-10ltrs from every car he works on that day, he gets a full tank for his own car/truck/etc....

2 options - locking cap and keep the key, but they can get round that
or
fill car before taking it in and make sure they realise this, then when you drive off after picking up, fill it again.
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Follow Up By: Member - Matt (Perth-WA) - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 13:08

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 13:08
There is NO way an apprentice would CONSISTENTLY get out of the workshop with a fuel can in his hand. Think about it...they only hold 5 l so most would have to do it at least 10 times to get a tank full. There is no workshop supervisor that wouldn't cotton on or he would be dobbed in by the other mechanics. This is seriously damaging to a workshops reputation and it wouldn't not be tolerated for a second.

I have seen apprentices sacked for skimming the left over oil after a service...charge customer for 2 5l oil but it only uses 7 or 8.

Its just not worth it. I used to supervise over 150 apprentices across perth from Major dealerships to little one man shows and you wouldn't even consider this a possibility.

Im sorry but there will be a mistake or you are the one in a million who possibly was scammed...id suggest the first.
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Reply By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:19

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:19
Consider yourself very lucky to get away with just a fuel loss.

My father- in- law has had his new tyres swapped for old. Has had the front seats swapped, carpet changed over and auto transmission substituted. Just ask him and he will tell you all about it.

In July last he traded in his Nissan on the current model and at the last service the dealer delivered back his trade in that had been resprayed to the colour of the new car. That did not work though because the old man is smarter than any car dealer.

The fact that the trade-in and the new car are body shapes just demonstrates how stupid the dealer, or someone else must be.

Losing a bit of petrol is nothing to having major substitutions made over a period of ten or mores years and four different vehicle.


Ian
AnswerID: 294459

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:37

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:37
>In July last he traded in his Nissan on the current model and at the
>last service the dealer delivered back his trade in that had been
>resprayed to the colour of the new car.

Are you quite sure of that? If you are I assume you took the matter to the police?

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:46

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:46
I tink he taking the Micky, Mike..

I hope anyway
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:57

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 18:57
What was that fillm? the one with the jag?
The big steal? where the engine was swapped
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Follow Up By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 19:00

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 19:00
Thank you Mile!

The hint is in the second last para.

Now for those who still don't get it The old boy has a problem hanging on to reality.

This is some ways quite funny, and at times the family have rolled on the floor with laughter, however the real tragedy is that as he is getting older (now 80 years) it's getting worse.

We listened to these accusations for over thirty years now, together with the rants and raves. However it is now a problem with which his family have to cope.

Now having mentioned the other side I must say that we are now experiencing similar problems with my my mother.

Ian


Ian
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 19:15

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 19:15
I don't think this is an area for levity or ridicule Ian.
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Follow Up By: Tuftys Tours - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 20:03

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 20:03
Hello Ian
I/ we understand we have the same uphill battle ourselves only on a singular basis......when we were young boys we looked up to them now it's our turn to also look after them.

A problem shared is a problem halved.

Tufty .
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Follow Up By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008 at 21:50

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2008 at 21:50
No ridicule at all,

These are our family, our loved ones, but until you deal with it on a daily basis you have no idea how exhausting it can be. You have no idea the worry it causes. I have lost count of the number of times I've had to step in to prevent him copping a smack in the mouth, or the number of times I have offered apologies.

Now at times we just need to have a good laugh to relieve the pressures, so that we can get back in there to look after them.

Now if I have upset anyone's sensitive feelings I ask that they make allowances for me as I do for my elders.

P.S. By the way, I'm almost 62 and terribly conscious of the fact that there by the grace of God go I. So far anyway, who can tell what the future brings.

I dread that my offspring may experience the same.


Ian
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Reply By: John R (SA) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 20:31

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 20:31
That's ridiculous (not the story, that someone it tight enough to steal fuel). I guess if you take a few litres from a handful of vehicles, and you don't have to buy fuel to get to and from work!

More to the point, take only a few litres from each vehicle, and it'd be a safe bet that most owners won't notice.

I'd back the suggestion of filling immediately prior to and post service. Note the odometre reading before and after too.
A pity though that you'd have to.
AnswerID: 294488

Reply By: swampy66 - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 21:29

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 21:29
Having fuel stolen is one thing

Being 500km out of town and having your fuel system blocked up with thin rubber shavings from siphon hoses is another annoying problem which we should all be aware of. (this is caused by the siphon hose shaving on a sharp internal edge either in the fuel filler pipe)

Cmon Scubaroo - spill the beans - who was it I wont tell anyone.

swampy



AnswerID: 294499

Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 15:48

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 15:48
Leave the GPS on with screen brightness turned down in my car Scubaroo.

Interesting to compare plots of any test drives done.

When car was on dyno recently , I noticed that the test drive plot
which was "Very comprehensive" , was a run around the block during which the car well and truly exceeded the speed limit.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 294615

Reply By: Stephen M (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 20:52

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 20:52
Why not fuel up chockers before service then reset the trip meter and see how many klms they do while in for servicing. Then refuel when you drive out. When I use to get my commodore serviced I use to leave a note on dash and tell the service bloke DO NOT test drive. Sure as sh it they did one day and scraped all the front spoiler on my brand new car didnt I let rip and they payed for it. They tried telling me they didnt drive it funny my mate who had a car yard around the corner phoned me up and had a go at me for driving so quick (flat to the boards) past his yard. I told him I was at work. No service bloke now ever drives my car unless Im in it. Can you get a locking cap for the tank?? Sounds like its your only way. And yes I belive it happens as I worked in a smash repairs for a few years and yes they did have fuel taken from there tanks when in for repairs and I can proudly say I didnt take it once. Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 294725

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