By emma grivotte
Even with rising fuel prices, superethanol can now be purchased at about 75 cents per liter. Nothing to do with the current €2.15 of SP 95 gasoline. audemer bridge (Eure) 69, to convert his Peugeot 208 to biofuel in April 2021. “It cost me 60 cents a litre, I told myself I had a petrol car, so why not do it to save money! “The retiree thought then. Except the opposite happened, after a engine reprogramming.
On April 16, 2021, Sylvie Le Largue goes to a car park in Pont-Audemer, where she sets up shop once a month. digiprog company convert cars to biofuels by modifying their injection parameters. “They go under the steering wheel, pull wires and strum on their computer,” recalls the motorist. For the modest sum of €379 and without case, your vehicle will be able to run on this fuel much cheaper than the others. “At first, I had to fill with half ethanol, half gasoline, then just ethanol,” he explains. But things were not so simple.
I would go back there all the time, because my car would stop all the time. I had trouble getting it to boot.
At the end of August 2021, after a few monthly visits, Sylvie Le Largue requested a refund from Digiprog and the return of the vehicle to its original condition. “I told myself that I was not going to spend my life seeing them again! I got my money back in cash. »
“Bioethanol is complex”
Contacted, the Digiprog company clarifies the situation:
This customer returned because adjustments needed to be made to the mapping, spark plug or coil. We can do 10 reprogramming on the same model and 11 won’t work, because a spark plug or a turbo is defective. Bioethanol is complex, it requires adjustments and having a vehicle in perfect condition.
According to the company’s statement, the client should have mixed gasoline and ethanol again but would not have done so: “After our reviews, you did not respect the protocol from the beginning. When the vehicle was original, there was still bioethanol in the engine and there shouldn’t be. For her part, Sylvie Le Largue does not remember such instructions.
Digiprog has been active in reprogramming for 15 years and has been doing ethanol conversions for 6-7 years. The company indicates that it performs 150 reschedules per month. Only 5-10% of customers would contact after-sales service. In Pont-Audemer, the company has been working for two years and only about ten clients have been reimbursed.
When the vehicle has an engine failure or difficulty starting and a customer doesn’t want to drive multiple times to correct it, we understand. That doesn’t mean we fail, but they don’t want to change a part.
His car stops in the middle of the street.
After restoring the car to factory settings, Sylvie Le Largue thinks she’s rid herself of the issues, but obviously the Peugeot she bought new in 2014 has suffered from her short stint on ethanol. “He stopped in December 2021 in the middle of Pont-Audemer, is offended with the owner. I had to take a convenience store. »
In addition to the danger of the breakdown, the garage repairs turned out to be very expensive: almost €7,000 change various parts of the engine, and also the clutch. According to Sylvie Le Largue, the repairman establishes a direct link between the breakdown and the conversion to ethanol. But for Digiprog, engine failure is not possible under these conditions and nothing proves that its performance is the cause.
Before the engine fails, you would have to drive thousands of miles. It’s not a full tank that will destroy an engine, or even ten.
According to the company, if the reprogramming caused the failure, changing all the parts was an exaggerated solution: “Many dealers are against bioethanol. He went to the shop who told him that he had to redo his entire engine, but It was probably just the faulty spark plug. change. If she had come back to see us, we would have taken care of her. »
A method not recognized by the State
Seeking a solution to be reimbursed for the repairs, Sylvie Le Largue consulted the House of Justice and Law of Pont-Audemer. Digiprog was invited to a settlement meeting in January but did not show up. Digiprog’s communication indicates that he was not aware.
A complaint filed
A few days ago, finally, a customer filed a complaint with the court of Châlon-sur-Saône and a copy with the general directorate of consumption, competition and repression of fraud (DGCCRF). His one-year-old new car was reprogrammed in 2019. “The light always stayed on, he testifies. I tried to contact them every six months since 2020, they offered me dates outside my apartment. In April they gave me an appointment, they redid a manipulation and that same afternoon the light came back on. She continues the young woman: “And since then, no news, despite emails, SMS, calls and voice messages. »
Whether engine reprogramming works or not, you should know that this method of conversion to bioethanol is not recognized by the State, unlike approved boxes. In theory, for the car to legally run on ethanol, this must be indicated on the gray card, but it is impossible to make the modification after reprogramming. A point that Sylvie Le Largue was unaware of.
Me, I learned not long ago that it was necessary to change the gray card! Also, I knew the boxes but not the reprogramming! I got to the site, they told me it would be a rescheduling.
For Digiprog, the boxes also cause problems and dissatisfaction, maybe even more. Conclusion: Although attractive, a conversion to ethanol should not be taken lightly.
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