It’s a problem that none of us want to think about, but with most petrol stations having multiple fuels available it is quite possible to accidentally put the wrong fuel in your car. Perhaps you weren’t paying close attention to what you were doing and you put petrol in your diesel engine, or maybe you accidentally filled your tank full of diesel fuel when what you wanted was petrol. It’s embarrassing, but anyone who sees how fuel stations are set up can see how some people could put the wrong fuel in their car. Unfortunately, the wrong fuel can cause serious problems, diesel fuel is a propellant as well as a lubricant, so putting petrol in a diesel car can strip out the lubricant in the engine and cause metal components to grind together. Petrol in a diesel engine is obviously very bad news for the car, as this can eventually do serious damage to the engine.
Actually, the problem of putting petrol in a diesel engine is surprisingly common in the UK, especially now that diesel cars have become more popular. An estimated 150,000 people make the mistake of putting petrol in a diesel car every year. The opposite problem doesn’t happen nearly as often, however. Diesel fuel nozzles tend to be much bigger than other fuel nozzles, and as a result they don’t fit in the petrol tanks of most cars.
If you find that you accidentally put petrol in your diesel car, do not start your car. Most of the damage caused by this problem comes not from the act of putting the wrong fuel in your car, but from starting the car and driving away. Starting the car will circulate the wrong fuel and compound the issue. If you found that you are filling your diesel-powered car with petrol but you only filled your tank to ten percent of its capacity, you should be fine if you stop pumping the petrol immediately and fill it the rest of the way with diesel. Over ten percent will require a fuel drain. Most garages will do a fuel drain on your car, but they can charge a lot of money to fix the problem. Fortunately, there are mobile companies that offer roadside repair, which is especially useful considering you really shouldn’t be driving when this happens. Most mobile repair companies pride themselves in being able to reach their customers within thirty to sixty minutes and performing a fuel drain in about thirty minutes.
One thing that you should keep in mind if you make the mistake of misfuelling your car is that you could invalidate your car’s factory warranty if you start your car or try to fix the problem yourself. If your car is still under warranty, call your dealer or manufacturer and ask them what action you should take. Most of the time they will tell you to have the car towed to a garage or call a roadside assistance service as discussed above, to have the problem fixed.