Help! The Wrong Type of Fuel Was Placed in My Car

March 12, 2018

Filling up our vehicles with fuel is a fairly routine task. Yet there are times when a trip to the fuel station can turn into a nightmare, no thanks to an occurrence called misfueling. Yes, putting in the wrong type of fuel has become commonplace not only in our country but around the world as well.

Putting petrol in a diesel-powered car and vice-versa can happen. If you fall victim to this mistake (or you yourself committed it), the first thing to do is keep calm. Don’t panic and have the presence of mind to follow a few simple steps. Doing so will save you a load of money and stress.

If you realize that your diesel car has received gasoline, stop the filling process as soon as possible. The less fuel put in the tank, the better. An important thing to keep in mind is NEVER start the car. Starting the engine will allow the fuel to circulate—which is the last thing you want to happen.

This is because gasoline acts more like a solvent whereas diesel is thicker and is more like a lubricant. Putting petrol in a diesel engine will strip the lubrication in the motor and render the system dry. And we all know how much damage this can do to a metal-filled mill with thousands of moving parts. Apart from this, unleaded fuel can destroy rubber seals and fuel injectors.  You can tell something is amiss when smoke begins to come out, along with a decrease in performance. And yes, the engine will eventually conk out.

But what if diesel is mistakenly placed in your gas-powered car? The same can happen—a lot of damage, we mean. In this case, however, thicker diesel fuel can clog the system, particularly the fuel pump, If this happens, the engine will putter to a halt.

Again, don’t panic. In either case, the best thing to do is have the fuel tank drained and cleaned. This will prevent any contamination from taking place and wreaking more havoc. If the fuel has reached in the engine in a diesel motor, it is best to replace the fuel filter, fuel injectors, fuel rail, and fuel pump. For gasoline powerplants, a new fuel filter, an oil change, new fuel injectors, and a new set of spark plugs may be in order.

In the event that this happens, you should hold the fuel station liable since it was their attendant’s incompetence that caused this in the first place. Yet it doesn’t even have to go this far as there are steps that can be taken to prevent it from happening.

Take for instance the different nozzles for gasoline and diesel fuel that some filing stations are using to help tell the difference. Then there are the varying fuel filler openings used by manufacturers. And of course, the best prevention is to always be mindful of the type of fuel being put in your car. If you’re not sure, you can look for indicators like “diesel” markings in certain places of the vehicle.

Simple steps that could go a long way in preventing a catastrophe.  

About the Author

Mr. Gerard Jude Castillo
Gerard has been a self-confessed car nut ever since he was a little boy. As a grown-up, he indulges in his passion by collecting toy cars (which he started since childhood) and reading up on the latest cars out there.  As Associate Editor, he will ensure that you get your fill of the latest cars in the market, as well as a load of automotive features.