This is one of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make, it’s easy to do and hundreds of thousands of drivers do it every year. This is called miss fueling putting the wrong sort of fuel into your car whether petrol into diesel or diesel into petrol. The most frequent miss fuelers are police officers your garage is likely to prescribe a new fuel tank, new fuel lines, and useful pump, new injectors, in fact, the whole school system, and a cost of thousands of dollars factoring the environmental problem of disposing of contaminated fuel.
Now in practice, diesel nozzles are slightly wider than petrol ones and any petrol car with a catalyst should have a narrower fuel filler neck that prevents miss fueling but even though it’s a really hard push to get it in over 20,000 people globally make this mistake every year. Now in a petrol engine, the power is produced by the spark plug igniting a compressed mixture of petrol and air, but diesel has a much higher flashpoint than petrol meaning it’s much harder to ignite so there’s a possibility the engine just won’t go at all.
What happens when you put petrol in a diesel engine?
Diesel also serves as a lubricant, ensuring that the fuel pump and other parts are in good working order. When petrol is combined with diesel, it acts as a solvent and has the opposite effect. When you put petrol in a diesel engine, the pressure between the components increases, creating damage to the fuel lines and pump. If you drive away or even start the car with fuel in it, you risk causing costly engine damage.
What happens when you put diesel in a petrol engine?
Since diesel pump nozzles are typically larger than most petrol fuel necks, misfueling in a petrol car is uncommon. Fortunately, putting diesel in a petrol engine isn’t quite as bad as the reverse. Since diesel must be compressed until it will ignite, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to start the engine.
What to do if you’ve put the wrong fuel in your car?
First of all, and this is most important: Do not start your engine. Don’t even put the key in the ignition.
If you’ve realised your mistake before starting the engine, here’s what you do:
- Tell the petrol station what’s happened.
- Put the car in neutral.
- Have someone help push your car to a safe place.
- If you have a car mechanic that can reach you, give him a call – he should be able to drain, flush and refuel your car.
If you aren’t so lucky and you drive off with the wrong fuel, you’ll soon realise what’s happened when the car grinds to a halt.
An alternative way to prevent this from happening is by fitting a diesel fuel cap to your fuel neck. This cap stops petrol nozzles from fitting into fuel tanks they’re not meant for.
These caps are designed to fit into specific makes and models, so be careful you choose the right one.