Putting the wrong fuel in your car is an easy mistake to make. Perhaps you’re after a long day at work and you’ve found yourself putting petrol into a diesel car or you're just after having a stressful morning with your toddler and are on autopilot.
Well, if you’ve ever found yourself in this awkward position, it’s very important to do nothing:
DO NOT SWITCH ON YOUR ENGINE!
Don’t even put the key in the ignition. The most serious damage happens once you have started the engine.
Before we tell you what to do in this situation, have you ever thought about what happens if you put the wrong fuel in a car? If you put petrol in a diesel car it could result in substantial damage.
On the other hand, putting diesel in a petrol car is a rarer occurrence as it isn’t easy to fit a diesel nozzle into a petrol tank.
What Should You Do If You Put in the Wrong Fuel?
If you’re zoned out at the pump and put the wrong fuel in, it can be a costly mistake. But it can happen to the best of us and is more common than you’d think. If you’ve noticed the mistake before turning on the engine, here’s what to do:
- Leave the engine off and don’t put the key in the ignition
- Put the car in neutral
- Tell the staff at the petrol station what happened
- Push the car to a safe place
- If you have roadside assistance, check if you're covered for misfuelling
If you do drive off, you’ll soon know about it. Your car will simply stop dead.
What Should You Do If You’ve Driven Off?
Perhaps you didn’t realise your mistake at the time and your car appears to have broken down after leaving the station, so what should you do after misfuelling?
If your car does stop dead, try and push it to a safe place so it doesn’t become an obstruction to other traffic.
By driving the car, the fuel has circulated in your engine which wreaks havoc on your entire system.
Putting the wrong fuel in a car can be costly. The car must be drained and cleaned which makes accidental damage expensive to repair. So, you may be wondering does breakdown cover include wrong fuel?
Some breakdown cover includes misfuelling. If you’re unsure whether your cover includes this, you can call your insurer and ask to be towed to a local garage who will need to drain the fuel tank. Wrong fuel removal could take a couple of days and will cost you so it’s worth double checking your policy summary to see if you’re covered for misfuelling.
Why is Putting Petrol In a Diesel Car More Common?
Have you ever wondered why more people put petrol into a diesel car and not vice versa? The reason is that petrol nozzles can fit easily into the neck of your diesel tank – it’s less easy to put a diesel nozzle in a petrol tank.
Putting petrol in a diesel engine is also a much more serious issue. Diesel acts as a lubrication oil that keeps all the fuel components running smoothly but adding petrol has the opposite effect. It increases friction, causing damage.
Whereas, if you put diesel into a petrol car, it’s not as bad and chances are you won’t even be able to start the car which is why it’s much less common. It’ll most likely cause misfires and some black smoke will come out of your exhaust but won’t destroy your engine in the same way petrol in a diesel car will.
Does Car Insurance Cover Wrong Fuel?
This will all depend on what cover you have. Most standard car insurance policies won’t cover the costs for misfuelling, but some offer it as an optional extra.
If you’re someone who has changed cars recently, from one fuel type to another, it’s worth considering special cover. Or if you’ve jumped between diesel and petrol cars a few times, you may be more prone to making a mistake. Extra cover may save you a lot of heartache.
At Stroll we recommend a number of affordable optional extras with your car insurance policy such as legal expenses, roadside assistance and a courtesy car.
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