The Wrong Fuel Problem Escalation

People tend to fill up their cars in the morning on their way to work or just before the school run, consequently this is when fuel stations are busiest and motorists are at their most distracted whilst dealing with the pressures of modern living. When you’re used to driving a petrol powered car and you’ve just swapped to a diesel powered car, that’s when the wrong fuel is mistakenly put into the tank.

Some drivers will realise that they’ve put in the wrong fuel whilst refuelling, putting in varying amounts from a few litres to a full tank but most unfortunate souls will not realise until they’ve driven off the fuel station forecourt and have broken down a few hundred yards down the road and usually, thanks to Murphy’s Law, at a busy junction. Only then will the penny drop.

What To Do If You’ve Filled Up With the Wrong Fuel Type

There are so many different types of vehicle on the roads nowadays that it’s difficult to give standard advice as there are so many vehicle idiosyncrasies. The basic industry advice is:

    • Don’t start the vehicle – Easier said than done this one as you have to have realised your mistake whilst refuelling. In some cases, simply locking or unlocking the car can prime the fuel pump which will introduce contaminated fuel into the vehicle system and this is an action that most people would automatically do in this situation as the majority of people just wouldn’t have this level of mechanical knowledge.


    • Don’t Panic – Panic is a perfectly Fossil Fuels understandable and natural reaction. When you’re already under pressure to get to work on time or to get the kids to school on time, it’s very difficult to keep a cool head. Even more so if you’re hit with the worry that the car might need extensive and expensive repair work or even a new engine.


  • Call an Engineer to help – As this is an industry that many people are unaware of until they actually find themselves in this situation, most people either call their roadside assistance company or a local mechanic with a tow truck. This is most definitely not the best option. You need to be able to consult an expert in the removal of the wrong fuel type from a vehicle. Inform the forecourt staff of the situation and ask if they can recommend a wrong removal company or if they can find details for one if you don’t have a smart phone yourself.

What happens to your car if you’ve put the wrong fuel type into it?

Diesel fuel contains lubricants which ensure the smooth working of fuel system components in a diesel powered engine. Unleaded petrol does not have these same lubricants; consequently, if you try to run a diesel engine with unleaded fuel in the system you’re not going to get very far before your vehicle breaks down. You are also risking damage to the fuel system components of the engine due to the lack of lubrication; this is more of a problem where unleaded petrol has been added to a decent amount of diesel, which has gone unnoticed by the driver. The vehicle engine will perform poorly but will usually still run.

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