What Happens When You Put the Wrong Fuel in Your Car?

What Happens When You Put the Wrong Fuel in Your CarUh oh, you stopped to get gas and ended up putting the wrong fuel in your car — what do you do next? Will your car be okay? Although no one likes to admit it, this is a mistake that many people have made. Continue reading to learn what to do if you have a fuel mix-up, and how you can prevent serious damage to your engine.

Diesel in a Gas Car

When you pulled up to the gas station, all of the pumps were taken except for one. You parked at the empty pump, and started to fill your tank with fuel. However after a few minutes, you suddenly realize you put the wrong fuel in your car—it’s a diesel pump. Even though diesel pumps are labeled “Diesel” and they’re usually a different color, this mistake happens surprisingly often.

Gas cars aren’t able to run on diesel. The car will run for a few miles or so, and then the car will stop running once it’s used the remainder of the gas in the tank. Luckily, putting diesel in a gas car doesn’t mean the end of your car, as long as you take the proper steps, discussed below, to prevent further damage.

What to Do?

Stop filling your tank immediately and don’t start your car. If you’re already driving, pull over in a safe place and turn off the engine. Next, call a tow truck to take your car to a mechanic. Your car will need to have both the fuel tank and fuel lines drained to prevent damage. Once the tank and lines have been drained, fill your car with regular gas and you will be ready to go again.

If you visit the mechanic right away, it is likely that your car will not sustain any permanent damages. Getting the lines and tank drained may cost you though, with the fix costing anywhere from $500 to more than $1,000 according to autoguide.com. Not to mention the price of the tow.

Gas in a Diesel Car

Yes, this mistake has happened as well. Many diesel pumps are designed to prevent a fuel mix-up because the pumps will usually have a larger diameter nozzle or a different colored handle. While this may prevent diesel pumps from fitting in regular gas tanks, the regular gas pumps can still fit into a diesel tank. Putting regular gas in a diesel car can also cause major damage to the vehicle’s engine. If you end up putting the wrong fuel in your car, make sure to follow the steps below to minimize the damages.

What to Do?

Noticing the fuel mix-up at the pump, before you drive away, is the best-case scenario. Diesel fuel works as a lubricant as well as fuel, which means using gas instead of diesel can cause serious damage. Gas and diesel also have different combustion points, which can cause the engine to not run properly, resulting in expensive repairs. To prevent damage, have your car towed to a mechanic to have the fuel lines and tank flushed and any necessary engine repairs made before filling back up with diesel. The cost of this can vary, depending on the amount of damage done to the engine.

If you happen to put the wrong fuel in your car, you’ll want to make a claim with your insurance company. Often, insurance can reject your claim, unless you have the right coverage on your policy. If you want to ensure your car is covered in case of a fuel mix up, contact our experts at TJ Woods Insurance to discuss your policy.