[SINGAPORE] Despite the lower fuel cost and higher performance of diesel-engined cars, owners of such vehicles are advised to enjoy these advantages only in Singapore and not across the Causeway because of the big difference in diesel fuel quality.
New diesel-engined passenger models sold in Singapore are Euro 5-compliant and the ultra-low sulphur diesel sold at the pumps here contains only 50 ppm (parts per million) of sulphur. This specification is compliant for use in Euro 5 diesel engines.
On the other hand, diesel fuel sold in Malaysia is Euro 2 compliant, with 500 ppm. Euro 4 standards with 50 ppm are expected to be implemented in 2015.
"It is not recommended for the new Kia Sorento Diesel to use Malaysian diesel as it is of a much lower grade," says Chin Kee Min, senior manager of authorised Kia distributor Cycle & Carriage Kia. "If lower grade diesel is used, it may cause engine clogging and misfiring issues, and perhaps other related problems as well."
A workshop manager who did not want to be named said that if the wrong diesel specification - such as one with high-sulphur content - is used "persistently", it could risk clogging the diesel particulate filter and may also cause engine damage.
"If there is a need to fill the tank, do not overfill but have enough to get across to Singapore and then refuel with better quality diesel in Singapore," he said.
He explained that using lower quality diesel may result in some "light smoke from the exhaust" as a result of the high sulphur content.
"It is also advisable to run the vehicle with the better quality diesel at expressway speeds for at least 20 minutes so the diesel particulate filter can regenerate itself. When in doubt, take the vehicle back to the dealer for a proper check," he added.
As for loading a jerry can with diesel from Singapore and carrying it with you for trips up north, the workshop manager does not recommend it.
He explains: "For safety reasons, this is not advisable."
Then again, the superb fuel efficiency of a diesel-engined car may not require most owners to fill up in Malaysia at all.
A Wearnes Automotive spokesman says that with a full tank of diesel, the Jaguar XF 2.2D will be able to travel "over 1,000 km".
"An owner is likely to be able to make a short trip to Kuala Lumpur and back with no difficulty," he said. "However, if absolutely necessary, customers are advised to top up only sufficient diesel to travel back to Singapore and not to fill up a full tank."