Putting the Wrong Fuel into your vehicle is stressful, there’s no question about it. Very often, the motorist who is unfortunate enough to have accidentally put petrol in a diesel vehicle, or vice versa, has not experienced the situation before and dealing with the unknown often leads to incorrect assumptions. A large number of the wrong fuel in car cases that we deal with on a daily basis involve a motorist who has been distracted whilst filling up with fuel and has not noticed their error. They then return to the vehicle after paying for the fuel and then experience one of the following situations:
1) The vehicle engine will not start at all.
2) The engine starts but then very quickly stalls and will not restart.
3) The engine starts and runs for a mile or two but then stalls on the road.
Does Starting The Vehicle With The Wrong Fuel In The Tank Cause Damage To The Engine?
In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this question is no. Many websites advertising fuel drain services state that you should not attempt to start the vehicle. When you first come across such a statement whilst looking for a wrong fuel emergency service, the chances are that it will increase your stress levels significantly. It immediately makes you worry about the effect that putting in the wrong fuel will have on your engine, and the consequences for your bank balance. In actual fact, a fuel drain and fuel system flush through with fresh fuel will cost you less than a good service. Your engine also, certainly won’t mind the flush through as there is always a sludge build up which will be removed. Your car may even end up running better!
Minimising The Wrong Fuel Situation Stress
OK, on to the point of this article. The following steps will help to reduce the stress of your wrong fuel predicament but should always be carried out with safety in mind. Safety is a major part of the job for our engineers. They are fully trained and licensed to handle hazardous chemicals. Removal and transportation of contaminated fuel should only ever be carried out by a professional with the correct equipment.Depending upon your particular situation, we would recommend the following courses of action:
1) Work With The Forecourt Staff – If you’re on the forecourt and you’ve just realised that you’ve accidentally filled up with the wrong fuel type, firstly, let the forecourt staff know what has happened. Obviously, they have a business to run and will need the pump to be free so that other motorists can use it. More often than not they will happily help you to move your vehicle to a safe spot on the forecourt where you can wait for our engineer. If none of the staff are available, don’t be afraid to ask a fellow motorist for assistance, although you should probably choose someone who looks like they could push a car weighing between 1.5 and 2 tonnes! Try to work with the staff, the last thing you need is the added stress of conflict with the forecourt owner or representative.
2) Be Safe If You’ve Broken Down On A Public Road Should your vehicle engine have started after the wrong fuel has been put into it and you’ve subsequently broken down a short distance down the road, think “safety first”. If your vehicle is causing an obstruction for other motorists make sure that your hazard warning lights are switched on so that others know that you’re unable to move the vehicle. Very often, we find that fellow motorists with good hearts will stop and offer assistance to help you move your vehicle to a safer location. There’s nothing more stressful than watching motorists narrowly miss colliding with your car in an effort to get past it.
If it isn’t safe to try to move the vehicle and the obstruction caused is becoming a danger to others, please inform our staff when you call. We can prioritise your case or inform the local police who may be able to reach you more quickly and make the situation safe. Don’t worry about causing an inconvenience, a policeman’s duty is to keep the public safe and they would much rather deal with a road diversion than a road traffic accident.
3) Keep Us Informed Of Your Particular Situation If you are a vulnerable motorist i.e. an elderly motorist or a lone female and you have mistakenly filled up with the wrong fuel either at night or in a remote location, then please inform our staff when you call us. We can prioritise your case and offer safety advice.
4) Help Us To Get To You Quickly When you call Fuel Medic, please try to give us as much information as you can about your situation, your location, your vehicle and how much of the wrong fuel type you have put into the vehicle. If you’re still on the forecourt then you can ask the staff to help you with location and wrong fuel quantity information. If you have broken down on the road and are unfamiliar with your location, ask a passer-by for help. If this is not an option and you have your smartphone with you, then visit our location finder on our wrong fuel emergency sister site to get accurate location information. This information will enable our engineer to find you as quickly as possible and get you back on your way again with minimal delay.
5) DIY Fuel Drains Are A Bad Idea And A False Economy. You Need An Expert. Be very careful about following any advice on the internet that doesn’t come from an expert source. Occasionally, we are called out to cases where the motorist who has put in the wrong fuel has had their vehicle towed home by their breakdown company and has then attempted to remove the contaminated fuel themselves using instructions found on the internet. Please be aware that handling contaminated fuel without a license in a public place is against the law. On private property, great care must be taken to ensure that the fuel is not handled in an enclosed area with no ventilation, it should also not be exposed to heat or electrical sparks. Please always seek expert advice before considering a DIY fuel drain, you will find that the cost of a professional fuel drain will be substantially less than the cost of a DIY kit for the job and the time required. A professional job will also be far more thorough than can be achieved by an amateur and if any contaminated fuel remains in the system then there will be the possibility of consequential damage to the fuel system or fuel injectors.
Help us to help you lower the stress levels of your wrong fuel emergency. Call us as soon as you are safe and able to do so without putting yourself at risk.