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Van Smells Of Diesel When Ticking Over

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Tokalah | 18:00 Thu 08th Feb 2024 | Motoring
20 Answers

My husband has been in hospital for 12 days and my son has been turning the van on and letting it tick over for about 15 minutes every other day so it does not get a flat battery.

Yesterday whilst it was ticking over he said there was quite a strong smell of diesel could it be its because it hasn't been driven for 12 days and just ticking over or do you think anything is wrong. My husband is the only one that drives, thank you



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Maybe T-cubed can drop in with a possible explanation.

Does it smell of fresh diesel or exhaust fumes?

Have a look underneath for drippage if it's fresh and take it from there.

Question Author

my son had a look underneath no signs of a leak, haven't asked my husband as i don't want him to worry about anything whilst he is in hospital

Maybe the DPF needs looking at - mine smells when it needs the cleaner topping up.  

Question Author

thanks everybody for the replies/links

Just to say I've parked my diesel car at the airport for six weeks during the winter and the car always started.  Your son could be wasting his time and fuel.

Possibly a leaking injector seal.

It's probably exhaust fumes. Turn off the heater fan whilst the engine is running. 

Question Author

thank you everybody

....and with the engine idling, the alternator may not be charging the battery – I’ve owned vehicles that required the engine at at least 1,500 rpm before the alternator output switches to 14V (noticeable due to the lights becoming brighter, or wiper wiping faster).

Is it in your garage, or parked on your drive/on the street?

The bottom line is that running the car for 15 minutes is doing no good and some harm. Unecessary cold running is bad for the engine, you're clogging up the particle filter, and you probably put net-zero charge into the battery as well as wasting fuel. Unless your husband is going to be incapacitated for several weeks you're better leaving it alone.

A better idea would be to buy a cheap battery charger and keep the battery topped up that way.

Question Author

thewinner it is parked outside our house on the road.


BHG481 my husband has had a heart attack 2 weeks ago, he is going to London hosptal today for a heart MRI then they will decide what to do, so will be quite a few weeks before its driven again.


thanks everybody

tokala - best wishes to your husband and a good outcome for both of you.

It might be worth considering having your son added to the insurance and then he can give it a good drive about once a fortnight - better for the van and more convenient for your son.

has the OP given any indication that her son can or is old enough to drive?

good point, dave

"My husband is the only one that drives"

bednobs - I missed that bit - thanks.

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