A businessman who borrowed a friend’s Porsche for the weekend filled it up with the wrong fuel – leaving her with a repair bill of £15,000.
Red-faced Alan Thompson, 64, wanted to thank owner Liz Moulton by returning her Cayenne 4×4 with a full tank.
But he pumped petrol into the luxury off-roader – unaware it ran on DIESEL.
Liz immediately noticed the Cayenne had a problem and drove the spluttering car to her local Porsche dealership – with Alan offering to pay for the damage.
But they were left gasping when they quoted her £14,600 to fix the 2012 motor – more than a brand-new Ford Fiesta which is fitted with a device to prevent wrong fuelling.
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The garage in Stratford, East London, said the Porsche needed new fuel pumps, fuel lines, a fuel distributor, pressure regulator and sensor, six high pressure injectors, a fuel hose and even a replacement fuel tank.
After a little negotiation Alan got £1,500 knocked off the quote – which included labour at £4,200 – but it still stood at more than £13,000.
He got quotes from other official Porsche dealers and found their prices ranging from £5,000 to £10,000.
Eventually he found a garage who would do it for £1,000 – and Alan has accused Porsche of trying to rip him off.
He said: ”I wanted to take it back with a full tank. She drove off and I had no idea there was a problem.
”It is a common and very easy mistake to make when especially when you get to my age, when one frequently makes mistakes.
“We all make mistakes but I do object to being ripped-off to such a ludicrous extent by Porsche who I have found to be unsympathetic, inefficient and unhelpful.”
Alan, who drives a Mercedes, says a local Merc dealer told him they charge £450 when it happens to their cars.
Fuming Alan told Porsche he didn’t want them to carry out the work.
He gave the job to The Ridgeway Garage in Enfield who said it would cost just over £1,000 – with the 4×4 not needing any of the new parts Porsche had listed.
They removed the fuel, fitted a new fuel filter, filled it with a fuel flush detergent to clean out the remainder of the contaminated fuel and then filled it with the diesel.
They charged him £1,103 for parts, labour and VAT and the Cayenne is now running as it was before the mix-up.
Alan said: “I’m happy as I’m over £12,000 better off than if Liz had had Porsche Stratford carry out the work as per their estimate of £13,169.24.
“Mercedes main dealers charge a standard £450 whereas Porsche appear to allow their dealers to charge whatever they like.
“Porsche should invest another £20 on fitting a fail-safe device to their new vehicles as BMW, Ford and Land Rover do.
“I am pretty sure that every potential buyer of a new Porsche diesel will be delighted to pay £100 for what I would regard as a ‘must have’ option.”
Elizabeth Moulton said her Cayenne was now running perfectly and she is “furious” with Porsche.
Mrs Moulton, 66, said: “I was dumbstruck when I was told the cost, I didn’t know what to say or do.
“I couldn’t be furious with Alan but I was furious with Porsche. I just thought ‘for goodness sake’ and I had to get off the phone as quickly as possible.
“Now the work has been carried out, the car is running brilliantly. I just think Porsche should be taken to task over this.
“To add insult to injury, I have now lost my warranty over this.”
But Porsche defended itself over the incident, saying the quote was “representative of the work that is recommended to be undertaken in this situation”.
A statement from the German manufacturer said: “By not only filling the tank with petrol but also driving the vehicle with the wrong fuel, it is likely that the engine (in particular the fuel system) suffered considerable damage.
“As diesel fuel acts as both a lubricant and a fuel in a diesel engine, the contrasting solvent-effect of petrol could also have caused longer-term impact on the cylinders, valves, pistons etc. In short, it is highly damaging to the engine.”
Porsche added its diesel vehicles are fitted with warning labels on the fuel flap and surrounding area which highlight “very clearly” the type of fuel the car requires.
Alan, from Hadley Wood, North London, said Liz was very understanding about his fuel blunder.
Over 120,000 motorists fill their car with the wrong fuel each year and a number of manufacturers now having safeguards to prevent it from happening.