My Vegetable Oil Motoring Experience
of trouble-free motoring on veg oil since converting on 18th June 2008
To the right of this text, you should see a box containing the text "Days of trouble free motoring so far..." along with a number. That number is genuine. You have my word that if I ever experience mechanical failure due to the use of vegetable oil in my vehicle, that number will be reset and a precise description of the problems encountered will follow. With that said... so far so good.
I'm a bit of a greenie at heart, so driving my so-called gas guzzler was a concern to me and I needed to make an informed choice about the somewhat greener fuels available to me. As you'll read from other pages, I opted for vegetable oil.
My Mechanic's Disappointment
Before making my final decision, as asked Andy my mechanic his opinion on Biodiesel and Vegetable Oil motoring. As an experienced and wise mechanic, he warned me off. "Leave them alone" he cautioned, explaining the sophisticated workings of the modern diesel engine as my eyes glazed over in confusion. Being a caring chap he even phoned me a few days later with another guys number, someone who had experienced problems with Biodiesel. I called the number, spoke to a well informed guy, and received much the same lecture as I'd had from Andy.
I pondered several more days and eventually decided, against the advise of my mechanic, to go ahead. But not with Biodiesel - no - vegetable oil.
I told Andy my decision and he was unimpressed. I'd actually go so far as to say he was a little offish the next time I met him, but then I'd ignored his advice and doubtless hurt his feelings.
On the 18th June 2008 I had an ATG conversion system fitted to my car by DieselVeg (DieselVeg no longer trade - click here for other fitters). They talked me through what to expect, warned me about switching the system off shortly before a journey's end (see my painful experiences), gave me proof of professional fitting, etc, and sent me on my way. My experience was a good one.
Three Months On - A Smug Mechanic
I'd already read that using vegetable oil as a fuel can have a "cleaning" effect upon an engine. My car had done 40,000 or so miles prior to conversion, so I expected some engine muck to have gathered. After three months of trouble-free vegetable oil motoring, based on knowledge of this cleaning process and advise given by DieselVeg, I decided the pay my mechanic Andy a visit and have the fuel filter changed.
Upon changing the filter, Andy was a vindicated man. He took a certain amount of satisfaction in showing my the extremely dirty content of the removed filter. However, he was very gracious when I cautiously relayed that I had expected such a result, pointing out the cleaning properties of vegetable oil. In fairness, he confessed that he'd also heard the same thing, so we agreed that I'd pop back in another 3 months and try another filter.
Three Months Further - A Surprised Mechanic
Sure enough, after another 3 months I returned again. Andy once more changed the fuel filter for me, but this time he was genuinely surprised by its condition. "It's like new" he remarked, and I genuinely believe he was relieved, which tells you a lot about this particular mechanic - he cares...
Six Months More
After six more months, I had a major service, including the fuel filter which was reported as still being good as new. That meant twelve months of trouble-free motoring.
10 Years On
After 10 years of routinely using vegetable oil to power my car, I have experienced no mechanic difficulties. If anything I think my engine is slightly quieter than it was, but I may be imagining that. Importantly there's been no loss of performance and no sooty clouds when accelerating. It's the same car it's always been - but a lot greener.
I think Andy has forgiven me now. He's accepted that I took an environmentally motivated gamble and I'm sure he feels, as do I, that everything worked out nicely in the end.