Diesel issue causes fuel filter to clog

The fuel filter on reader's new Peugeot keeps clogging and causing driving problems. A problem with the quality of the diesel in the North East is to blame.

Two months after Tom Cook took delivery of his new Peugeot 207 in November 2011, the car went into limp-home mode. It was January and the dealer, Richard Hardie Peugeot in Durham, explained that low temperatures had caused the diesel fuel to turn slightly waxy, blocking the fuel filter.

The dealer agreed to change the filter free of charge. However, the problem returned three more times over the next couple of winters. On the last occasion Tom protested. ‘I said it was impossible that waxing was the cause, because the ambient temperature was eight degrees and diesel doesn’t wax until well below zero degrees.’ The dealer then charged him £103 to change the filter.

Tom wrote to the dealer three times to complain but never received a reply. His local Trading Standards office had more luck, but Tom wasn’t interested in the dealer’s offer to exchange the car if he invested more money. Trading Standards also reported that the same dealer was now attributing the fault to a problem with the fuel. 

Tom then contacted Helpdesk for advice and also wrote to Peugeot’s customer services. They concurred that the issue was down to fuel quality in the North East and offered Tom a refund of the latest filter charge plus a free service for his car. We told Tom to accept the offer.

We also consulted the Downstream Fuel Association, which confirmed that there has been a problem with diesel fuel quality in some parts of the country. Chief executive Teresa Sayers said: ‘We are looking at the fuel and its content to see what might cause filter blocking, and whether the issue is temperature-related.

‘In the next few months we should be nearer to identifying and solving the issue.’

What if this happens to you?

  •  If a fault reoccurs with no reasonable explanation from the dealer, contact the manufacturer's customer services department to see if there is a bigger issue at play.
  •  Keep hold of the faulty part in case you want it independently tested.

We've prepared lots of useful advice, including a full guide on warranties that could help you with either a new or used car.

If you need our help, email us at helpdesk@whatcar.com with a few details and we'll be in touch.