What Happens When You Use the Wrong Fuel?

What Happens When You Use the Wrong Fuel?

Wrong fuel in your engine? Don't drive away - call us from the forecourt!The unthinkable has happened. You’ve accidentally used the wrong fuel in your vehicle! But you’ve done the right thing and called us straight away. We’re on our way to help, but you find yourself wondering – what happens when you use the wrong fuel?

The Difference between Diesel and Petrol

The core to this understanding the difference between diesel and petrol engines. Diesel engines need to create a lot more compression in order to burn fuel. Gasoline is a light fuel that ignites quickly – diesel is a heavy fuel that ignites slowly.

So, a diesel engine with petrol in it runs the risk of either not igniting the fuel, as it has no spark-plug to cause the ignition, or the fuel may ignite out of control – i.e. within the engine itself, which would cause the engine to explode.

Meanwhile a petrol engine with diesel in it is more likely to have the fuel-injectors inside the engine bogged down by the heavier liquid, and as it is less flammable a fluid the engine won’t be able to ignite it – and thus won’t be able to start at all.

Damage Begins When the Fuel is First Added

Further complications come from the make, age, and condition of the vehicle, as well as how long the wrong fuel is left to sit in the engine. If it has time to settle and begin to react with its surroundings, misfuelling might cause long-term damage to the fuel filters and other internal components.

This is bad for petrol engines but even worse with a diesel engine, of which the internal mechanisms are much more delicate, with debris and metal particles from the engine drawn into other parts of the fuel system and causing even more damage. (Common rail, or HDi diesel, is the most vulnerable of all.)

If you’re stuck on a filling station forecourt with the wrong fuel in your engine, call us now on 0800 193 1103 or 07538 889 922 and we’ll have a team with you inside an hour.