Petrol In Diesel Car – What Should You Do?

Most Motorists know that it’s very important to take care of their cars  to keep them running smoothly. However, accidents happen which can potentially put their vehicle at risk of expensive damage. This includes accidentally putting petrol in your diesel car or vice versa. It may sound funny or embarrassing, but this is quite common and it can be fixed without a lot of fuss.

A diesel engine is different from a petrol engine; each one is designed to work with a specific type of fuel. The worst thing that can happen when you put petrol in a diesel car is that some engine components could suffer serious damage and would have to be replaced at considerable cost..

In case this happens, the first thing you should remember is not to panic. There are steps you can take to fix the problem and ensure that your vehicle survives this mishap.

Signs That You May Have Put Petrol In Your Diesel Car

Ok so you filled your car last night and now it won’t start this morning. Did you keep the receipt from the filling station…?  This simple check is the first indicator.

Ok so the engine started with some difficulty but now has a strange noise coming from it……Rattles and bangs….bucket of bolts …..?

Smoke level from exhaust has increased….?  Most cars will have some steam come from the exhaust when cold but it disappears about a meter from the tailpipe…..smoke hangs in the air.

Stick your nose to the filler . Remove the cap and have a sniff…petrol is a very strong aromatic “heady” smell…. Diesel is a more organic smell.

Its driving but quite sluggish…. A car that is laboring is not running efficiently….have it checked as soon as possible.

If you realized that you placed petrol in your diesel engine before starting it, make sure that you don’t turn it on and don’t even place the key in the ignition. For some cars, placing the key in the ignition triggers the pumping of some fuel into the engine. So, it’s best not to start your vehicle at all.

Meanwhile, if the car is already running or if you are already driving, you should pull over and stop the car whenever and wherever it’s safe to do so.. The speed of fuel transfer from the tank to the engine varies according to the make and model of vehicle. Some cars would not make it off the forecourt whereas other can drive for a few kilometers before feeling the ill effects.

Some may say that putting less than 5 litres of petrol in your diesel engine does not do damage and you can top it up with more diesel fuel. However, whatever the amount of contamination, it is recommended that a full drain is done to your engine as this is the safest solution.

You should never be tempted to drive the problem away as this is the greatest cause of long term damage.


Driving a vehicle with incorrect fuel will invalidate any warranty that you car is covered under.

Vehicle manufacturers routinely test fuel samples in the event of potential warranty claims.


The fuel tank should be fully drained and the system must be completely flushed. Properly flushing out petrol in diesel car should only be done by a suitably qualified professional. All FuelRescue staff are qualified Mechanics and have extensive specialist knowledge of fuel systems. Letting professionals do the job is the best way to ensure the complete removal of the contaminant. It is also a good way of protecting your car from incurring further damages.

After resolving the contamination incident, performing a thorough cleansing of the engine must be done. It is also recommended that you replace your fuel filter immediately. Please note, however, that even after repairs are done, it is possible for your car to continue having some emission problems, depending on the damage your engine incurred.

Accidentally placed petrol in your diesel car? Get the help of the experts to flush it out and save your car from damage.

Call FuelRescue at 01 280 7661 or 086 2551079.


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