Well, it happened. Trust me, it’s a mistake you never want to make.
I am fortunate to have a husband that pampers me in many ways, and one of those ways is in never requesting that I filled up a vehicle or drive, unless I want to. Well, I never really want to.
So—when we stopped at a gas station in Innsbruck, Austria, Jared was filling us up when suddenly he stopped the pump and said to me, “Oh no! I just put in gas, not diesel!” We were driving a diesel car. He had a temporary brain lapse and then realized his error. “Maybe if I continue filling the rest up with diesel, it will dilute the gas and we’ll be okay?”
“Umm…I don’t know. Why don’t you go ask them inside?”
So, he tried. But…well…we were out of luck. “Kein Englisch” – No English.
I looked at our phone, and debated if I should activate the data plan (more expensive since it was a German phone and we’d be roaming). Ugh. DECISIONS! Instead, Jared insisted we should drive on to our next destination. I wasn’t so confident. He started on his way, and I immediately grabbed the GPS and started trying to track down auto repair places along our route. I found one and insisted me MUST go there immediately. He relented, and became very annoyed when the seemingly nearby (on the map) repair shop was up a lot of windy roads in a residential area. Jared kept saying, “It’s going to be fine. I don’t think it will hurt the car. We don’t need a repair place.”
We arrived at the shop Jared was smugly happy to see they were closed. It was the early evening, so it was understandable that the repair place would be closed and we knew we’d be out of luck anywhere else, too.
So—we pressed on. For awhile, that is. About 30 minutes from Innsbruck (not counting the extra time we spent trying to find the auto repair) the car began to chug. Chug-a-chug-a-CHUG. Oh, crap.
We were right on the border of Austria/Germany, and we pulled over at an ESSO station where Jared went inside with the Hertz emergency number. Inside was a kind bilingual clerk who helped talk on the phone on our behalf and help sort out the ordeal.
Long story short? We shouldn’t have driven that car an INCH after we filled it with the wrong fuel. It was still repairable at this point, but we were told we shouldn’t even turn the car back on. So, a few guys helped Jared push the car to a parking area, and we were told Hertz would send someone to pick it up in the morning.
Meanwhile, we were without a vehicle. We had to unload all of our junk (a lot of junk, I admit), and wait for a taxi cab to come pick us up and take us to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to the nearest Hertz rental agency. A medium sized car picked us up, which had to fit all of us (5 bodies), plus the taxi driver, plus all of our luggage. Let’s just say the arrangement wasn’t exactly legal…but we made it work.
We arrived at the Hertz agency late at night, and the local owner showed up to meet us and arrange for us to exchange for a new vehicle. It felt so silly to again request a diesel fuel vehicle (eh-hem), but we could pretty easily guarantee Jared wouldn’t make the same mistake again. The new vehicle was actually an excellent upgrade—simply because it was an automatic (instead of stick shift), and Jared’s shifting had been driving me NUTS for the past three weeks! Score!!
Well, the “score” was actually a costly $800 slap in the wrist for repairs, and unfortunately not covered by our credit card insurance, because our rental exceeded 30 days (FYI—most rental agencies won’t rent to you for more than 30 days, however, we had found a booking website that had allowed us the full 90 days).
Live and learn, live and learn.
Or more preferably…watch and learn from other people like us, and don’t make the mistake yourself!