Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

Fuel tank and bowser errors

MBW Motorbike Writer fuel scooter economy

Have you ever put more fuel in your tank than the manufacturer says it will hold?
Did it make you wonder if the bowser was inaccurate or the manufacturer’s specifications were too conservative?
You could be right on both accounts.
According to RACQ executive manager technical and safety policy, Steve Spalding, the stated capacity of fuel tanks is “only a guide”.
He says filler recesses, hoses and actual tank shape leaves air gaps that, if filled, push the total fuel volume over the stated amount.
“It’s important that fuel has room to expand as it heats up to avoid external leakage,” says the avid Suzuki Bandit fan.
“Motorcycle tanks, which are mostly placed above the engine and in direct sunlight would be susceptible to the effects of heat.”
If you are in the habit of filling right up to the fuel cap, you could be paying for fuel you won’t use as this extra petrol will probably spew down the breather hose as soon as you ride off.
The servo might already have diddled you on the amount of fuel you’ve paid for.
According to the National Measurement Institute (NMI), about one in a dozen complaints about inaccurate pumps is found to be correct.
From July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2013, NMI investigated 1474 complaints about short measure and found 108 (7.3%) were justified.
It’s not a huge amount, but it does get you thinking.
Unfortunately, the NMI did not answer questions about how many random tests were carried out, how many servos were found to be inaccurate, what the maximum fine was and how many were fined.
“We are, however, legally prohibited from providing you with the results of any particular investigation, including fines issued, as this represents protected information under Section 19H of the National Measurement Act,” an NMI spokesman says.
However, they did say 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.
Steve suggests there is enough of an inaccurate measure for motorists to be skeptical.
He says you should buy from reputable fuel suppliers and if you think you have a genuine complaint, don’t fail to notify the authorities.
(Consumers can make complaints by ringing the national NMI hotline on 1300 686 664 or emailing: