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Filling our car or motorcycle with fuel is something we do on a weekly basis, or sometimes even a daily basis. Although fuel prices are on a rise and alternate fuels are still a distant dream for the wider mass, we all wait in queues and spend a lot to fill up. Refuelling is a chore for anyone who owns an internal combustion engine vehicle.
In between all this, we all would've come across a warning, ‘not to refuel while the engine is left running'. So, what if you fill your car with petrol or diesel, while keeping the engine running? Here are some things to know!
One of the reasons why it is advised not to fill fuel while the engine is running is ‘static electricity'. Static electricity generates when imbalanced electric charges stay within or on the surface of a conducting material. This could lead to the generation of sparks. Since fuel vapours are abundant at a petrol station and near the car (while fuel is being filled), a possible combustion could happen.
This is also the reason why it is cautioned not to use mobile phones while filling up. Static charges generate when you make a call.
Phone chargers and cigarette lighters inside the car can also lead to risks if used while refuelling. If such small things are risky, imagine the threat caused by the engine.
In petrol engines, combustion occurs due to the spark plug igniting the fuel-air mixture. In diesel engines, combustion occurs by spraying fuel into high temperature compressed air. Another fact to know is that petrol fuel combusts more quickly than diesel. Hence, filling your petrol car while the engine is running, poses more threat in comparison.
Starting your car while fuelling is even riskier than leaving the car running while filling up. This is because, while starting/cranking, the engine uses more fuel and electricity to start quickly. The starter motor will also be running, creating an additional field of charge.
Now you know why it is advised not to leave the car idling while refuelling!
Thoughts On The Risks Of Refuelling While The Engine Is Running
Today's cars are so advanced in terms of technology and safety. The basic engine architecture has been witnessing a lot of changes recently. Hence the chances of risks while keeping the engine running while refuelling is very low. However, there is no harm in being a little cautious and turning off the ignition while filling the car with fuel.