Around 150,000 people fill their cars up with the wrong fuel each year in the UK. If you find yourself making the same mistake, here’s what to do…
The Wrong Fuel
Putting the wrong fuel in your car can have some serious consequences. For a start, it can damage vital parts and components in its engine. Secondly, it can be a tedious and time-consuming process to correct the mistake. Nevertheless, the RAC claims that around 150,000 people in the UK make the mistake each year.
The vast majority of these people, around 90%, accidentally put petrol fuel in diesel models. A much smaller amount of people put diesel in petrol vehicles; this is because the nozzle rarely fits, making the mistake obvious before it’s actually made. Regardless, here’s what you should do in either case…
Petrol in a Diesel
Putting petrol in a diesel can cause much more damage than the other way around. It’s really crucial that, should you realise that you’ve put petrol in a diesel model, you don’t start the engine. This is because turning the ignition on will cause the fuel to flow throughout the car’s engine and other systems. This makes getting it out harder, and will cause the most damage to parts and components.
In diesel vehicles, diesel behaves as a lubricant. Petrol, however, acts as a solvent. Without lubrication, internal friction is caused. This can leave high-pressure injectors vulnerable to extensive damage and replacing them can cost thousands. In some cases, the cost of the repairs would exceed the total cost of the car or vehicle itself.
As soon as you notice your mistake, stop the pump. If the petrol you’ve added is less than 5% of the total, you should get away with your mistake – as it’s unlikely enough to damage the fuel system. If you’ve added anymore, notify the petrol station’s staff; they’ll likely cordon off your vehicle and the fuel pump with cones. Some may help you push your car away to somewhere safe. You’ll then want to call your breakdown company or a specialist misfuelling company. The cost of correcting the mistake could cost anywhere between £150 and £300, and typically takes 30 minutes to an hour to fix.
Diesel in a Petrol
The consequences of putting diesel fuel in a petrol vehicle aren’t as serious. Nevertheless, you should follow similar steps to those mentioned above. If you fail to notice, and start the engine, both your vehicle’s fuel system and spark plugs will be coated in diesel. This can cause a misfire, which will produce smoke via your car’s exhaust. Sometimes, your engine may fail to start at all. Nevertheless, the damage probably won’t be serious.
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