Putting the wrong fuel in your car is a surprisingly easy mistake to make.
If you’re tired or distracted, you might accidentally pick up the wrong pump at the petrol station, not realising your mistake until it’s too late.
And if there’s a fuel crisis going on, you might be tempted to fill up your car with whatever’s available. Any fuel’s better than no fuel, right?
Wrong! Filling up your car with the wrong fuel can be dangerous and immensely costly.
In this post we’ll explore what exactly happens when you put the wrong fuel in your car. We’ll then let you know exactly what you should do if you accidentally put the wrong fuel in your car.
What Happens If You Put The Wrong Fuel In Your Car?
Petrol engines are not designed to run on diesel, and diesel engines are not designed to run on petrol.
Fill up a petrol car with diesel and you won’t get very far. Once your car uses up all the petrol that’s already in the system, your engine will simply cease to function. The petrol engine will not be able to ignite the diesel in your tank. So you’ll roll to a halt, and you won’t be able to start your car again.
Fill up a diesel car with petrol and you’ll really be in trouble. Petrol’s a lot more combustible than diesel. So in a diesel engine, petrol will ignite much faster than the engine can handle. Black smoke will probably emit from the exhaust. And as petrol’s also more corrosive than diesel, the longer you drive, the more damage you’ll do.
What To Do If You Put The Wrong Fuel in Your Car?
It all depends on when you notice your mistake.
If you notice you’re using the wrong fuel while topping up, then stop pumping immediately!
Don’t even start your car. Misfuelling is a costly mistake in any case, but you’ll do some real damage if you try and drive with a tankful of the wrong fuel.
If you’re still at the petrol station, let a member of staff know. They might be able to call for a specialist to drain your tank.
If you’ve already left the petrol station, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so, and don’t try and drive again until you’ve solved the problem.
Call your breakdown assistance company, if you have one. Otherwise, you can call a misfuelling specialist, who’ll send someone out to help you. They’ll drain your tank and engine, flush your fuel lines, and address any other issues.
Fixing this problem is going to cost you, no matter what happens. It can cost as little as £200 to simply drain a fuel tank. But if you’ve tried to drive your car with the wrong fuel, the costs can be significantly higher.
In the worst case scenario, you may even have to pay for a new engine. But don’t worry – this shouldn’t be necessary if you haven’t tried to drive your car with the wrong fuel.
Never Put The Wrong Fuel in Your Car!
As we’ve seen, it’s a very bad idea to put the wrong fuel in your car. You could do irreparable damage to your engine. But even if you catch your mistake before you start your car, you may still have to pay a few hundred pounds to drain your tank.
Needless to say, you should never be tempted to use the wrong type of fuel – not even in an “emergency”.
If you hear news of a fuel crisis, or fuel shortages, you might think it’s best to fill your car with whatever’s available. As who knows when you’ll next have a chance to get fuel. But this is a terrible idea. Even during a fuel crisis, you should only ever fill petrol cars with petrol, and diesel cars with diesel.