It is standard procedure for a driver or motorcycle rider to be asked to turn off their engine while refueling and in the case of a boda boda, both the rider and passenger to disembark. However, because many people do not know why they have to switch off their engines let alone disembark, they will be seen registering their displeasure.
A random survey among 17 motorists and passengers on whether they know why they are asked to turn off their engines or disembark from a motorcycle while at a fuel station revealed that only two had an idea. 15 people, nine women and six men confessed that they would switch off their car engine or get off a bike because it was routine procedure. Two of them explained that common sense served right to think it was possible that sparks from a running engine could ignite a fire and cause an outbreak at the fuel station.
Danger of fire
The submissions by the female drivers are in coherence with what Andy Musoke, a mechanic and rally driver and Ronald Ngobi, the station manager of Shell Bugolobi, in Kampala, explain. “Vehicles have an internal sparking engine that carries waves that can easily cause a fire and because an engine heats up, it is advisable that it is switched off when one is fuelling,” Musoke says adding that phones emit waves that can start a fire so as a safety measure, phones should not be used near a fuel pump.
Ngobi says safety at a fuel station starts away from the pump when fuel is being offloaded. Here, care and caution are exercised in order for it not to spill. To this end, he explains that smoking is strictly discouraged at a fuel station since this would cause a direct fire, particularly close to petrol pumps or tanks since the fuel catches fire faster.
“At any petrol station, a pump attendant is expected to direct a car to a fuelling point then request a motorist to park, greet them and ask them which type of fuel they would like. The motorist will be asked to switch off their engine for the one reason that since the car has been in motion, the engine is hot and should be switched off in order to cool down,” Ngobi explains.
He adds that switching off the engine serves as a precautionary measure in case a pump attendant fuels the car with the wrong fuel type. The car engine will be off and thus the fuel can be removed before it circulates into the car system to cause damage.
Allows engine to cool
Additionally, letting the engine cool, is something Ngobi recommends since letting an engine keep running allows continuous heating of the engine, whereof a mistake could leading to a fire that can destroy a car and the fuel stations premises given the high combustion environment. Musoke explains that fuel engines have a four-stroke engine cycle, which enables more combustion than diesel engines that have no strokes cycles.
He reveals that for those fuelling rally cars, it is advisable that when they park the car, they ought to open the car doors too so that in case of a fire, they can easily find an exit.
“This is particularly recommended since the fuel used in rally cars is different and highly flammable. We use racing aviation fuel,” Musoke adds.
And for the case of motorcycles, the veteran mechanic explains that they have pistons, which are good conductors of heat. In case fuel accidentally spilled onto a piston, a fire can erupt. “If a motorcycle rider is seated on their bike, alongside with a passenger, the chances of escaping such a fire becomes a little hard so fuel managers or attendants always insist that both the motorist and passenger disembark as a precautionary measure,” Musoke further explains. “We are strict on people using mobile phones while fuelling because serving someone whose attention is divided leaves room for receiving half a service they might want to get since pump attendants could take advantage of someone fuelling while talking on phone to give them less fuel that they would have paid for,” Ngobi observes.
Here are nine safety tips to keep in mind when you are next filling up your car.
•Turn off your engine when filling your tank. When you are filling your tank, ensure your engine is off and your keys are out of the ignition and in your pocket
•Do not smoke, use a lighter or light a match. It is illegal for anyone (not just you as the driver) to smoke inside a service station.
•Do not use your mobile phone. The reason we aretold not to use mobile phones at service stations is that mobiles have been known to cause sparks that can ignite petrol vapours.
•Do not let your kids fill your tank. Children, should not be encouraged to refill or be near an adult who’s refuelling.
Other safety measures
Andy Musoke, a mechanic and rally driver and Ronald Ngobi, agree that enforcing safety measure should not only be observed at some but all fuel stations. Musoke also points to other safety measures that are worth considering and paying attention to, for example the need to have fire extinguishers at different points of the fuel station to help arrest fire outbreaks before the fire brigade arrives at the scene to completely put out fires.
In nutshell, safety measures are for the good of the motorists, passengers, fuel attendants and the establishments they serve, and the need to educate the public and employees of these facilities about the relevance of safety is relevant.
Additional information from www.budgetdirect.com.au
What to do when your engine goes off abruptly
As disappointing as it may get, Sula Kilimani, a mechanic at Kisekka Market in Downtown Kampala, says the first thing to do when your engine goes off is to switch on your hazard or danger lights, which are also sometimes called the double indicators. Thereafter, call for help so that the car is remioved from the road.
“When you have pushed your car to a secure place, try to restart the engine. If it fails, it could be an indicator of an underlying mechanical problem that requires mechanical attention even if you have enough fuel. If it restarts, you may still need your mechanic to inspect your car,” Kilimani advises.
In most cases, you may require a towing car, commonly known as a breakdown to pull your car to your garage or nearest service station to have it reviewed.
Try to restart the car.
According to desertoasisautorepair.com, an online portal, if you can get the car restarted, great, but the original issue is nonetheless a clear indicator that you still need to head for a repair shop to get the problem evaluated.
Turn on your emergency flashers.
Again, safety is priority is the most important thing in this scenario. If the car was unable to be restarted, let other drivers know you’re having trouble and to give you and your vehicle some space by putting on your flashers.
Call for help.
Call for someone to tow your car to a repair shop. This is a problem you want taken care of ASAP.
Reduce the risk
As there are multiple factors that could cause your car to die while driving, it’s important to be aware of your car’s maintenance health at all times. Avoid heavy key rings as they are easier to accidentally shift into the ACC position, and keep good track of where your gas levels are at all times.
Whatever the reason you car puttered out on you, it’s important to get it checked out by a quality repair shop like Desert Oasis. They can help determine whether the cause is something minor, or if something needs to be fixed to prevent further damage or accidents in the future. Call Desert Oasis for all your car repair and maintenance needs.