What to do if you put the wrong fuel in your car
Follow these steps to ensure you get the right help available to get your vehicle back on the road.
Last updated: 31/08/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
While misfuelling may feel like something that could never happen to you, over 100,000 Brits report it to the AA each year.
As it is such a common occurrence and easily done, it’s worth knowing what damage it can do to your vehicle and whether you can claim for it on your insurance.
When petrol runs through a diesel engine it causes significant damage to many components. This damage can cost thousands to repair and in severe cases can result in complete engine failure.
The most commonly affected components are:
Petrol can ruin a diesel engine very quickly, so the speed at which you react to misfuelling can mean the difference between hundreds and thousands in terms of damage. If you notice any engine irregularity, you should pull over and contact your breakdown provider.
As it is not always immediately apparent that you have used the wrong fuel, it is advisable that you have misfuelling cover on your car insurance policy should the worst happen.
While not as severe as putting petrol into a diesel car, this type of misfuelling can still do damage to your engine. In most cases it will cause the engine to smoke or cut out completely if continued to be in use.
Once you notice the engine start to act irregularly, you should pull over and contact your breakdown provider for further assistance.
Most insurance providers will not cover misfuelling or wrong fuel cover as part of a standard policy. Often, if the provider offers misfuelling cover it will come as an optional extra on your breakdown cover policy.
When you compare car insurance or breakdown cover, it’s worth noting the terms and conditions for misfuelling cover and what you will be protected against. Some providers will only cover the cost of cleaning and draining while others will cover you for the cost of all repairs, so it’s important to check that you have the best cover before committing.
Even the most experienced drivers can accidently put the wrong fuel in their car due to lack of care and due diligence. It’s important to always double check at the pumping station and keep abreast of new fueling labels on pumps. Petrol cars should use E5 or ‘leaded/unleaded’, while diesel drivers should use B7 or ‘diesel’.
New labels are designed to tell you exactly what is going in your car and what renewable fuel source is being used. The shape of the label indicates the fuel type - a circle is for petrol and a square for diesel.
The letters indicate the renewable fuel source - E for ethanol and B for biodiesel. The numbers tell you what percentage is made up of renewable fuel.
Misfuelling can be a grey area with car insurance, with some providers only covering cleaning and not damage, while some don’t cover it at all. Money Expert can help you find cheap car insurance with misfuelling cover, and ensure you know what will be covered before committing.