Doctor Diesel

Fuelling the debate

dd1I contacted you last year as I had been thinking of purchasing a new SUV – maybe a Land Rover Discovery Sport. But as I am very much a pensioner, the cost of a brand new vehicle, I decided, was just too high. So I have now purchased a 64 reg Land Rover Freelander Metropolis SD4, as I have driven a lot of miles in Land Rovers in the past. The vehicle has done only 10,000 miles and the handbook specifies that “good quality diesel” is to be used. After all that, my question is: What diesel? I have never been keen on supermarket fuel, so I usually visit my local Shell filling station and have used their standard fuel, to which I put in a dose of fuel additive. Shell also do a premium grade called V-Power, which is 9p a litre dearer than their standard fuel. Is it, in your opinion, worth paying the extra to use V-Power? I would much value your opinion on this subject.

John Gudgin

Good to hear from you again! Sounds to me that your nearly new top-of-the-range Freelander SD4 was a good buy.

There were a couple of feature articles fairly recently in DC on diesel fuel and additives, which might add to your knowledge bank, if you haven’t read them (Issues 345 and 348, Ed).

I think that you are currently doing exactly the right thing. By using an aftermarket additive at an effective cost of probably around 4 to 5p a litre on top of the pump price, you are getting a top grade fuel for a lot less than the cost of an overpriced branded fuel, like Shell V-Power or BP Ultimate (The extra money goes on all the heavy advertising, I would guess!).

This is pretty much what I use, although at times I have used Tesco standard diesel plus an additive, and it seemed to work well enough for me. I do think that, after some criticisms of fuel quality, some supermarkets have upped their game, but I don’t know whether the picture is consistent throughout Britain, as fuel quality is dependent on what your local bulk distribution depot offers. My local Gulf station has started price-matching to the local Tesco prices, and that’s what I’ve been using for the last six months plus (Tesco is no longer offering extra money off – up to 10 to 12 pence per litre – from credits that you earn from buying groceries there).

It would not do any harm to double your dose of additive maybe every five fill-ups though, if you have been doing a lot of local running around, when the evil deposits can build up in the engine and its fuel system. Anyway, I hope that puts your mind at rest, and I hope that you continue to enjoy your Freelander, which should keep you happy for a few years. Regards,

The Doc

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