A lot on your mind lately? Driving a new car? Whether it’s just a moment of distraction or force of habit, putting in the wrong fuel does happen sometimes. 

In fact, according to Defaqto, every 4 minutes another driver puts the wrong fuel in their car. Unfortunately, this simple mistake can leave you with a big repair bill.

What should I do if I misfuel?

  1. Don’t try to start the car. If you’ve not turned the engine on at all yet, the damage will be much easier and cheaper to fix.
  2. Leave your car in neutral and make sure it’s at a safe spot. Ask people near you to help push it, if needed and possible. Then remove the keys from the ignition.
  3. If you have a drive like a girl policy, call us on 0330 022 0123 immediately. We provide misfuelling cover to all our customers.

What happens if I put petrol in a diesel car?

It’s easier to make the mistake of putting petrol in a diesel car because petrol hoses are smaller so they fit into most diesel filter necks. Unfortunately, petrol in a diesel tank is also more damaging.

Diesel is meant to work as a lubricant in the fuel pump, whereas petrol in a diesel engine only increases friction. The more petrol goes into your diesel system, the most damage it will cause.

Pump in a full tank and you might end up needing a whole new fuel tank, pumps, pipes or even a brand new engine.

What happens if I put diesel in a petrol car?

If you have a petrol car, you’re much safer. Diesel hoses are bigger than most petrol filter necks, so it’s less common to misfuel diesel into a petrol car – and the damage isn’t as severe. 

Diesel ignites when it’s compressed but petrol needs a spark to do so. So when you put diesel inside a petrol engine, it’s likely to block the spark plugs meaning your car won’t start. It’s annoying but it’s not as serious or long-term as the damage of petrol in a diesel car.

How can I make sure I don’t misfuel?

It’s hard to prevent innocent mistakes like misfuelling your car, but there are a few things you can ‘brain stamp’ to avoid it from happening.

  1. Don’t get too used to the colours of the fuel hoses. Always read the pump’s label.
  2. If you’re driving a new car, create something to remind you about its fuel type. Whether it’s phone reminders or a post-it note on the fuel tank cap, don’t underestimate the power of habit.
  3. Focus on fueling your car; put your phone away, stop chatting with your friends and get the job done. Don’t rush.
  4. If you have a diesel car, there are devices you can buy that make it impossible to insert a narrow petrol nozzle.

A Defaqto study from 2018 stated that 240 out of 300 car insurance policies exclude misfuelling from their cover. This means that accidentally putting in the wrong fuel could not only leave drivers with an expensive bill but it could also invalidate their insurance.

At drive like a girl we provide misfuelling cover to all our customers – we’ll pay up to £250 to clean your fuel system and any other associated parts. Interested in getting a quote with us? Check out who we are.