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Filled Wrong Fuel In A Car? Here’s What To Do!

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We understand that mistakes tend to happen and tanking the wrong fuel in car is also a common mistake. Well, you shouldn’t be shocked to find out that many people make this error and you are not alone.

So, if you have a diesel car, and you have mistakenly put petrol in it or vice versa; know that it can be dangerous. It’s because our cars have preferences too. So, making them sip something that they don’t want can invite trouble.

Misfuelling can highly damage the car’s engine. Do not take this risk as the working mechanism of the engine gets affected. Thus, it’s important to handle the misfuelling situation the moment you realize that there is wrong fuel in engine.

We are going to discuss the possible scenarios in detail and help you wisely solve this problem. Read on to find out how you can save yourself from hefty bill repairs. And also get to know- what to do when there is wrong fuel in car.

Possible scenarios of misfuelling-

1. Diesel in Petrol Car

Petrol car owners have a little advantage over diesel car owners. It is because of the design that these cars are built with. And the chance of filling up a petrol engine with diesel is a rare mishap.

The refilling nozzle size of a petrol car is different from the diesel one- it is comparatively smaller. Subsequently, the diesel dispenser won’t be able to fit into a petrol car tank. As a result, the chances of diesel in a petrol car are cut down to a great extent.

Yet, the possibility of the wrong fuel in car and the engine damage still remains. The fuel filters in petrol engines cannot adapt to the lubricating properties of diesel. So, when diesel is added to a petrol engine, the spark plugs and the fuel system will be clogged up by diesel. This way fuel filters which are one of the most important car components are affected.

If you are not aware of the wrong fuel in car symptoms- then make a note that you are likely to notice engine misfiring, heavy smoke from the exhaust and car stalling as a result.

2. Petrol in Diesel Car

We found that chance of filling up diesel in a petrol car is not common. However, misfuelling a diesel car is easier. Let’s find out what happens in such a situation.

This unfortunate mishap can cause very serious damage to the car’s engine. It’s like a human consuming poison that might lead to large-scale harm.

Diesel engines are capable of compressing the fuel for the ignition process. The fuel is pushed to the internal parts to lubricate them. Unlike diesel, petrol on the other hand doesn’t have many lubricating qualities.

When one mistakenly fuels petrol in a diesel car, they mix together easily. And the problem begins here. It’s very challenging to get rid of the petrol which is circulated in the internal parts of the diesel engine.

With the wrong fuel in car, the fuel injection pump doesn’t function properly. How would it be able to? Its performance is surely going to get affected because petrol cannot perform the job that was assigned to diesel.

Before telling you what do to, we must inform- what you shouldn’t do.
  • tag ‘Do not' start driving your car. Forget about driving, you must not even consider turning the car on. This will allow you to keep the wrong fuel in the tank itself and avoid its circulation to the internal engine components. It is easier to handle the situation when the wrong fuel stays in the tank.

Remember: If you are driving an automatic car, just turning on the ignition key can make the wrong fuel pump from the tank into the system.

And making a note of the above point will help you in saving a lot of money and prevent your car from undergoing expensive repairs.

What to do when you put wrong fuel in car?

Let us talk about what you can do when you have topped up your car with the wrong fuel. Here are the following situations that can help you understand this better.

  • tag You have an upper hand if you realize it while filling up. You can drive your car normally if the tank is filled up with less than 5% of the wrong fuel. Diesel and petrol can mix up easily and such low levels of the wrong fuel in engine shouldn’t be a problem. However, we would still recommend you drain the fuel to avoid any contamination.
  • tag If you realize misfuelling after a complete fill-up, the problem is still under control. Just make sure that you do not crank the engine. Try and take your car to a safe zone. Call for a tow service and get it towed to the nearest workshop. Consider emptying the car tank.
  • tag As discussed, you should not turn on the car’s engine in any case. But if you still do so, turn it off immediately. Keeping the ignition on can cause the wrong fuel in car to transport to different car components. You must flush the fuel and get the engine cleaned thoroughly.
  • tag The worst case scenario is that you have driven your car for some miles before finally realizing it. In such a situation, you must immediately stop your car and turn off the engine. You must refill your fuel tank only after flushing the contaminated fuel from it. Getting is service is very important. Make sure to change the fuel filter as soon as possible.

Here are a few wrong fuel in car symptoms

As discussed above, misfuelling our cars is a common mistake. And at times, you might not realize the wrong fuel in car. However, you must not panic. There are some symptoms that can assist you in discovering that you have put wrong fuel in car.

We will list out 3 warning signs that can help you identify the issue of fuel contamination in your vehicle.

  • tag Car jumping

    This is one of the wrong fuel in car symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore. You might feel that your car is losing power every time you accelerate. You might notice it jolting forward and backward.

    It can be scary and cause severe damage to the engine. The reason behind is that the fuel mixture can stick to the pistons and corrode the lubrication system. Other car parts can also get damaged but draining the fuel can help you save from it.

  • tag Smoke from the exhaust

    If you notice that black smoke is coming from the exhaust heavily, it can indicate misfuelling. Petrol heating with diesel can cause smokey exhaust. You must turn off the ignition.

  • tag Engine misfiring

    The fuel mixture can cause improper lubrication to the engine parts. Without properly greased engine components, the car engine can splutter. You might also hear big banging sounds. Most of the vehicles might show engine misfires. You should consider seeking emergency help from the roadside in such a case.

Final Thoughts

We have discussed the two possible scenarios if you put the wrong fuel in car. Identifying it with the help of the symptoms listed can act as a boon for you. However, if you are unable to identify it and continue to drive your car, it can negatively affect the car’s engine performance.

You might have to replace it. However, it can get very expensive if you buy a new engine. Check out Used Engines Inc., for affordable and reliable used engines. You get the quality at the best prices that can help your car run longer with better efficiency and performance.


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