Tony O'Kane | Aug 13, 2009

TESTING CONDUCTED by the VACC has found that silicon oil contamination was the cause of last week's fuel scare, which left hundreds of motorists with damaged engines and hefty repair bills.

At this stage it's not clear when the silicon oil was introduced into the petrol supply, but it appears that most of the contaminated petrol has been removed from the affected service stations.

The contaminated fuel was distributed to a number of Melbourne-area service stations last week, and caused wide-ranging levels of damage to vehicles that were refueled with it.

Some damage has been easily rectified by a change of sparkplugs and the draining of the fuel tank, but other motorists have experienced total engine failure as the result of running their cars on the contaminated petrol.

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VACC spokesman David Russell recommends that any drivers who experience rough running from their cars, or observe the 'check engine' light illuminate, should immediately take their car to a mechanic who can then properly diagnose the problem.

Liability for any fuel-induced damage technically lies with the service station that sold the fuel, however it's still unclear exactly who is at fault for the contamination.

Investigations are on-going, and personnel from the Federal Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts have inspected several fuel stations.

A listing of which service stations have been affected by the contaminated petrol has yet to be released, but concerned motorists are urged to switch to 95 or 98 octane premium unleaded as a safeguard.

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