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Diesel fuel filter problems targeted in probe

Petrol pump Image copyright PA
Image caption No single car has been associated with the filter problems

The fuel and motor industry is investigating a spike in the number of problems affecting diesel fuel filters.

Failure of the part, which screens out dust and dirt, can lead to power loss and cost hundreds to replace.

BBC Radio 4's You and Yours found that groups representing fuel companies and motor manufacturers had been compiling details of the problems.

In a joint statement, they said the issues had not been limited to one area and no conclusions had been drawn.

Oxfordshire-based Jon Harvey suffered a problem with the fuel filter in his Citroen C3 VTR while overtaking on a dual carriageway.

Following a loss of power, he was initially told the problem was due to "waxing", caused by diesel more suitable for summer being used in winter, but then discovered temperatures had most likely not been cold enough to be the cause.

He said: "I put my foot on the accelerator and it suddenly cut out.

"The mechanic said it looks like your fuel filter has got clogged and we're going to have to replace it - it cost me £160 to fix."

The reports that the industry is looking at are distinct from the Diesel Particulate Filter or DPF, which cuts emissions from engines, but needs to be "cleaned out" by regularly travelling at higher speeds for longer periods.

The Downstream Fuel Association, which represents organisations throughout the supply chain, from storage to the forecourt, said it was also involved. It added the investigation was open to all lines of inquiry and it was premature to draw any firm conclusions at this stage.

The UK Petroleum Industry Association and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: "We are aware that motorists in some parts of the UK have experienced incidences of diesel fuel filter blocking problems.

"There is no pattern in fuel retail outlet, age, type or brand of vehicle, or the age of the filter affected.

"We are actively investigating the situation, through British Standards Institution, to achieve a swift resolution and limit any inconvenience to affected customers."

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