Wrong fuel in your car? Petrol in a diesel engine?
If you've put the wrong fuel in your car, you’re not alone. The AA once stated that over 150,000 drivers put the wrong fuel in their car every year across the UK - That's over 400 a day!
Putting the wrong fuel in car is not the end of the world and a lot more common that you might realise.
It’s true, while this is not something you want to repeat, it happens all the time. What’s more, with the right steps, you should be able to avoid a disaster or any serious damage to the engine at the very least.
Now, I want to premise this article with a warning that you should never ignite the engine when you put the wrong fuel in car. That being said, I do realise it may already be too late for this warning.
But what happens to the engine during this time and what should you do when you realise this mistake?
Well, contacting a wrong fuel recovery service is the fastest and most convenient solution.
As for what actually happens, let’s take a look at the aftermath of wrong fuel in car:
Wrong Fuel in Car: What Happens When You Start the Engine?
When you start the ignition, fuel begins to circulate in the engine. For this reason, you enable the issue to spread much further than the fuel tank. But what does this look like?
Well, petrol acts as a solvent in this instance and starts to erode the lining of your fuel tank. For this reason, if you leave this fuel in there for long enough, the lining will be destroyed. On the other hand, if you happen to start the engine, this solvent can then spread to other components in the engine such as the filters, injectors and fuel pump.
It may not happen so often but if you put diesel in a petrol engine, this can also cause extensive damage and this is certainly true if the mistake goes unnoticed for too long.
Human Error and the Cause of Wrong Fuel in Car
Just so you know, most people end up putting petrol in a diesel tank rather than the other way around. You see, diesel pumps are fitted with a large nozzle which cannot be squeezed into a petrol tanks whereas the petrol pump can accidentally slip inside this opening on diesel vehicles.
In fact, recent studies in the UK show that several hundred police officers make this exact mistake on an annual basis. Now, that’s not to say police officers in particular should know better but rather to outline the results of the most relevant study I can find!
Anyway, it happens a lot and much more than us humans would like to admit.
Wrong Fuel in Car: 3 Simple Steps to Rectify the Issue
Unfortunately for those who make the mistake, diesel engines are especially vulnerable to petrol. That is to say, while petrol will still incur damage and need to be flushed, the consequences are higher for Diesel engines. In most instances, this can mean more repairs or replacement parts are required.
Here’s exactly what you need to do when you put the wrong fuel in car:
- Contact Your Local Wrong Fuel Recovery Service
Whether you started the engine or not, you will need to have the engine flushed by a professional. Instead of trying to drive to a local garage, stop the car, turn off the engine and call a wrong fuel recovery service.
- Let the Professionals Get to Work
When a technician arrives, special equipment is used to flush the system clean of the wrong fuel. While they may not be able to assess the extent of damage (if any) caused, thy will at least enable you to get back on the road in just a couple of hours.
- Re-Fill and Re-Assess
You can then re-fill your tank with the right fuel and depending on what the technician advises, you might want to book the vehicle in for a check-up to assess the condition of the engine.
You see, it’s not the end of the world and the pros can have this matter sorted in just a few hours!