Are you overfilling your motorcycle tank, wasting money and putting your life in danger?
Watch this video and check out these safety and money-saving tips.
This video provides a graphic explanation for why you should never fill your bike while you are sitting on it.
In this case, the rider on the KTM 200 Duke allows the service station attendant in India to fill the tank while he is sitting on board.
That wouldn’t happen in Australia where most servos insist you get off your motorcycle.
In the video, the attendant overfills or the nozzle shut-off fails and the petrol spills on to the hot engine, bursting into flames instantly.
The rider suffered burns to both legs and his right arm.
Overfilling motorcycle tank
Overfilling a motorcycle fuel tank is easy to do.
Cars have long filler necks which bubble up when the tank is near full and shuts off the nozzle.
There is rarely a splash back on the first “click” because the fuel has a long way to travel up the filler neck.
However, motorcycles either have a short filler neck or none at all. So the nozzle shuts off when the fuel tank is almost full and can easily splash out of the tank opening.
The correct way to fuel your bike, is to shove the nozzle down into the tank, not leave the tip near the top.
That way, the nozzle will shut off before the tank is full and near the fuel cap opening.
You then pull the nozzle back to the edge of the opening and slowly fill the tank by watching and listening.
Of course, you should first switch off the ignition, get off your bike and put it on the side stand or centre stand.
However, you need to be able to listen to the fuel gurgling in your tank. That may be difficult while wearing some helmets. I also wear ear plugs, so I take off my helmet and remove at least one ear plug when refuelling.
Squeezing in the most fuel
Some riders believe they fit more fuel in their bike if they put it on the centre stand, but it depends on the bike and the shape of the tank.
However, you really shouldn’t try to squeeze in as much fuel as possible.
Motorcycle tanks have filler recesses, hoses and an air gap at the top and will hold more fuel than the volume stated on the technical specifications.
That gap is there to allow the fuel to expand as it heats up. If you fill the gap, the fuel will simply spill out of the breather hose as you ride off.
The motorcycle tank is usually placed above the engine and in direct sunlight so they are susceptible to fuel expanding with the heat which pushes more fuel out of the breather hose.
If you haven’t totally filled up but the bowser suggests you’ve put in more than you believe is possible, it could be an inaccurate pump and you should lodge a complaint.
According to the National Measurement Institute (NMI), about one in a dozen complaints about inaccurate pumps is found to be correct.
They have trade measurement inspectors throughout Australia who are authorised to visit a place of business “at any reasonable time of day’’ as part of a trade measurement compliance inspection program.
Industry sources say servos are usually not fined, but warned on first offences.
So riders should be skeptical of bowser readings. Buy from reputable fuel suppliers and if you think you have a genuine complaint notify the authorities.
(Consumers can make complaints by ringing the national NMI hotline on 1300 686 664 or via email.