What to do if you put the wrong fuel in your car

Man looking at a fuel pump in despair

Putting the wrong fuel in your car can be an expensive mistake

Around 150,000 motorists accidentally put the wrong fuel in their car every year – that’s one every three-and-a-half minutes. But do you know what to do if you put the wrong type of fuel in your car by mistake?

What to do if you put petrol in a diesel car

This is the most common mistake people make – the petrol pump nozzle can easily fit into the filler neck of a diesel fuel tank.

If you’ve accidentally put petrol into a diesel car, the most important thing to remember is to not start the engine. If you start the car, the petrol will circulate through your engine, causing potentially irreparable damage.

Left unchecked, you could have to replace your fuel pump, diesel injectors, filters and fuel tank.

What to do if you put diesel in a petrol car

This is a much rarer problem, as the diesel pump nozzle is normally too big to fit in the filler neck of a petrol tank.

However, if you do manage to put diesel in your petrol car, don’t start the engine. Diesel is heavier and oilier than petrol and won’t ignite as easily as petrol. However, if it circulates around the fuel system, the car might not start.

How is misfuelling repaired?

If you put the wrong fuel in your car, but don’t start it, all you’ll need is a professional to drain your fuel tank of the incorrect fuel.

The cost of this will depend on the size, make and model of your car and its fuel tank. According to the AA, getting a fuel recovery specialist can cost around £190, but only if you haven’t started the engine.

The RAC says that the worst-case scenario – having driven your car with the wrong fuel running through it – can cost up to £5000 in repairs.

It can be expensive to fill up your car, but 1st CENTRAL has good news. Check out our blog on the fall of fuel prices.


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