Diesel Dirt - 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Long-Term Road Test

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI: Diesel Dirt

June 25, 2013

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

This is more the fault of the gas station and diesel fuel in general than of our long-term 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI, but pumping diesel fuel is dirty business.

I know, I know, diesel is much cleaner burning than it used to be. But pumping the stuff can be nasty. This isn't a particularly dirty gas station, but the diesel pump gets a cruddy build-up that the regular gas pumps don't get. My fingers get black soot on them that isn't easy to wash off without scrubby soap. Next time, I'll hold the handle with paper towels if they are available.

I don't mind the additional rumbly noise that comes with a diesel-powered vehicle. And I certainly don't mind the long range I get on a tank of diesel fuel. Would this grime stand in your way of buying a diesel-powered car? I think it would for me. That and the fact that the three gas stations in my neighborhood don't offer diesel fuel so I have to go out of my way to fill up.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor


Comments

  • ddougyy ddougyy Posts:

    When I bought my GTI, the salesman that worked wih me drove a Passat TDI. He said that he kept a plain cotton glove in the car for when he was out of state (we live in NJ) and needed to fill up. They're relatively cheap, so he just throws it out when it gets too dirty, and they're more comfortable than messing around with latex.

  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    In 193,000 miles of TDI driving I have rarely found it to be a significant issue. I self-serve at a full service station and the pump there remains pretty clean. With 600 miles of tank range and a long daily commute, most of my fills are at that station, there are only two gasoline-only stations located closer to my home. On long trips I try to select better, high volume auto-diesel stations, they generally have cleaner pumps than the auto-diesel pump at a truck stop. Usually paper towels are available at the pumps, and it is rare that I need to get to a soap and water station. I bought a pack of moistened towelettes but have only used two of them over the last three years. Diesel pumps are everywhere these days, including many of the big convenience store/fuel stop chains.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    That's just a really dirty pump, where I'm guessing quite a few older heavy-duty diesel trucks fill up. If you were to fill up at say a Shell (or other well-known brand that caters mostly to cars but also has some diesel pumps) where only diesel cars and pick-up trucks fill up, the pump is going to be just as clean as the gasoline one next to it. Oh and when I say clean, I mean there won't be soot on it. Grease, oil, and dirt on someone's hands never hurt anybody, the invisible germs on things like your cell phone do... White collar America has some interesting perceptions on what is "dirty".... I'm just thinking out loud, not directing that last thought at you Ms. DeRosa.

  • smule smule Posts:

    We bought a '12 Passat TDI SE 6spd manual new in 2/12, it now has approx. 18,000 miles on it. Initially I was skeptical of owning a Diesel powered car...but we love it so far. For example, last week we drove from Charlotte, NC to Hilton Head Island, SC for a 7-day vacation (two adults and two kids) approx. 550 miles round-trip. We topped it off before we left Charlotte, and drove it daily while in Hilton Head...never had to worry about looking for a Diesel pump/station entire trip...only stopped on the way back (50 miles outside of Charlotte) because we had to use the bathroom, and I decided to top it off again at that time because we were still in SC and Diesel is cheaper than NC. The wife drives it mostly, and she hasn't said anything about the smelly Diesel pumps...I think the convenience for her of only having to fill it up at the most once a month vs. at least twice a month w/ her old gas car, far outweighs the occasionally smelly pump. We also noticed that we never have to wait for a Diesel pump at busy stations...which is nice too...it's roomy in the back for growing boys, and has a good sized trunk.. Donna - shouldn't you be capitalizing the word 'Diesel' in your articles? Where's Ed?

  • quadricycle, I'd say the 'perception' of what is dirty would be anything that would then transfer to your steering wheel, clothes etc. Even if ones collar isn't white they still might not want a smudge on their shirt or pants on the way to work. And grease, oil and diesel residue can contain suspected carcinogens and unlike the bugs on cell phones (which my cell phone only has germs from me on it) you can't build immunity against carcinogens....

  • Every single diesel pump in my area, Upstate NY, looks like this pump or worse, regardless of the size of the station. I can't quite comprehend how people manage to get diesel all over the pump handle. My other gripe, which may only be an issue in my neck of the woods, is that the diesel pumps are almost always the older style pumps where you can't pay with a card without going inside. That being said, I still wouldn't get rid of my 2010 Jetta TDI because the gains outweigh these small annoyances. I went on a trip this weekend, 400 miles round trip, with 4 adults in the car and had the a/c running, used 8.132 gallons of diesel. No hypermiling was involved.

  • evodad evodad Posts:

    like doug at the top, I'm in NJ, we don't pump our own fuel so it wouldn't deter me at all.

  • I always figured that if I owned a diesel, I would just keep a box of those disposable plastic gloves in the car -- you know, like the kind the "lunch lady" at school would use. Sure, I can live with dirty hands, but no way would I want that slimy oil to get on my steering wheel or controls.

  • jriseden jriseden Posts:

    "Would this grime stand in your way of buying a diesel-powered car? I think it would for me." I find it hard to believe that a dirty fuel hose would dissuade you from buying a Diesel vehicle. That's like saying you won't eat fast food because your local Burger King has some dirt on the door handle. Come on now.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @zimtheinvader: Exactly! As you said, the perception is that anything that can cause a smudge, or ruin the APPEARANCE of cleanliness is "dirty". Touching a diesel pump won't give you cancer by the way, or at least not anymore than the pumps of a

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    I like ddougyy's suggestion of throw-away cotton gloves. I see professional drivers in other countries (e.g., Japanese taxi drivers) use them but wasn't sure they were cheap enough to treat as disposable. You can also carry a small wad of paper towels and/or wet-naps in the car. I keep these handy for whatever dirtiness problems arise while I'm driving-- such as having to add air to a tire and getting brake dust from the wheel all over my fingers.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    "That and the fact that the three gas stations in my neighborhood don't offer diesel fuel so I have to go out of my way to fill up." Curious. Maybe your gas stations are older than most of ours in Vegas as we seem to have diesel everywhere.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    I have been driving diesel trucks across the US as part of my job for the last 5 years and the diesel pumps are not any dirtier then the gas ones. Where you can get the smudges from I have no earthly idea but I think this simply shows you don't have the mindset needed to be a auto enthusiast outside of New Jersey. In short thicken your skin and join the rest of us in the real world.

  • adjat84th adjat84th Posts:

    Diesel fuel does not evaporate like gasoline..it likes to stick around a while and collect "crud". It doesn't seem to be common practice for filling stations to clean their handles frequently either...at least not in the majority of my experience.

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