For many motorists, the idea of filling their car with the wrong fuel sounds ludicrous. But it is not as uncommon as you may think. Every year, more than 150,000 drivers across the UK will put the wrong fuel in their car.
So what happens when the wrong fuel goes into your tank? How dangerous is it to the car and the driver? Can an explosion be triggered by adding the wrong fuel?
The impacts of putting the wrong fuel into your vehicle depend largely on the type of vehicle you have and the quantity of fuel you put into the tank. In any circumstance, the most important thing to remember is not to attempt to start the car’s engine. This will compound the problem and could cause substantial (and expensive) damage.
Putting Petrol in a Diesel Car
Gasoline is far more combustible than diesel. Therefore, the risks of putting gasoline in a diesel car are more severe than putting diesel in a gasoline vehicle.
If you start the engine with gasoline in the car, it will likely misfire, reduce the engine power, irreparably damage the emissions controls, and cause permanent engine damage.
If you have put gasoline in your diesel engine, turn off the ignition immediately. You will need to drain your fuel tank and your fuel lines completely. If you do not feel confident doing this yourself, it is important to visit a mechanic to ensure the work is completed correctly.
Putting Diesel in a Gasoline Vehicle
Diesel fuel should not ignite in a gasoline vehicle, dramatically reducing the risk of bodily injury. However, putting diesel fuel in a gasoline vehicle can still cause damage. The engines are not designed to burn these types of fuel and the engine will not function on a tank of diesel fuel.
Just as if you put gasoline in a diesel tank, the best course of action to rectify the problem of diesel in a gasoline tank is to contact a mechanic that can safely drain the tank and fuel lines. Even though the engine will not burn diesel fuel, you should turn the ignition off as soon as you realise the mistake and make no attempt to drive the vehicle.
Putting the Wrong Octane Gasoline into a Gas Car
The three different octane nozzles are all adjacent to one another and often have near-identical colour schemes and designs. As a result, it is fairly common that motorists often accidentally put higher octane fuel in their regular gasoline vehicles.
Some motorists prefer to use higher octane fuel. A common myth is that regular gasoline vehicles perform better when burning higher octane fuel. The truth is, in most engines, the higher-octane fuel with neither help nor impede performance. However, in some cases, when the engine has not been designed to handle higher octane fuel, putting higher-octane gasoline in the tank than necessary can reduce the car’s power.
In short, putting higher octane fuel in the vehicle will not cause any lasting damage. Just try to put the correct fuel in the vehicle next time you fill up to ensure it is running at its optimal performance.