When you accidently put Petrol in a diesel vehicle

Petrol in a diesel vehicle


Have you ever been in a situation where you accidentally put petrol in your diesel vehicle? It can happen to anyone, and it can be a costly mistake if not handled properly. In this blog, we’ll discuss the steps you should take if you put petrol in your diesel vehicle and how to prevent it from happening in the future.


The first thing you need to understand is the difference between diesel and petrol engines. While both types of engines have similarities, they function differently. Diesel engines rely on compression to ignite the fuel, while petrol engines use spark plugs to ignite the fuel. This difference means that putting petrol in a diesel engine can cause serious damage.

Diesel and Petrol Engine differences.

Diesel and petrol engines are two different types of internal combustion engines, and they have several differences. Here are the five main differences:

  1. Fuel type: The most obvious difference is the type of fuel they use. Diesel engines use diesel fuel, which is a heavier and less refined fuel, while petrol engines use gasoline, which is a lighter and more refined fuel.
  2. Ignition process: Diesel engines use compression ignition, which means the fuel is ignited by the heat of compressed air in the combustion chamber. Petrol engines use spark ignition, which means the fuel is ignited by a spark from the spark plug.
  3. Efficiency: Diesel engines are generally more fuel-efficient than petrol engines. This is because they have a higher compression ratio, which allows for more complete combustion of the fuel.
  4. Torque: Diesel engines produce more torque than petrol engines. Torque is the twisting force that causes rotation, and diesel engines produce more torque at lower RPMs, which makes them better for towing and hauling heavy loads.
  5. Emissions: Petrol engines produce more emissions than diesel engines. Petrol engines produce more carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change, while diesel engines produce more nitrogen oxides, which contribute to air pollution.

AdBlue in a Diesel

See our other blog about this serious and potentially very expensive problem

Why is it a Problem?

When petrol is added to a diesel engine, it reduces the lubrication and increases friction. This can cause serious damage to the fuel pump, injectors, and engine. The petrol also reduces the cetane rating of diesel fuel, which affects the combustion process and can cause the engine to misfire or stall.

What to Do If You Put Petrol in a Diesel Vehicle?

If you realise you’ve put petrol in your diesel vehicle, the first thing to do is not to start the engine. Starting the engine can cause the petrol to circulate and cause more damage. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Don’t Panic: While it can be a stressful situation, try to stay calm and take the necessary steps to prevent further damage.
  2. Stop Pumping: If you’re still at the petrol station, stop pumping petrol immediately. If you’ve already left the station, find a safe place to pull over.
  3. Do Not Start Your Vehicle: As mentioned earlier, starting the engine can cause more damage, so don’t attempt to start it.
  4. Call for Help: If you have breakdown cover, call your provider and ask for assistance. They’ll arrange to have your vehicle towed to a garage where the fuel system can be drained and cleaned. If you don’t have breakdown cover, call a local mechanic or towing service.

How to Prevent Putting Petrol in a Diesel Vehicle?

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to prevent putting petrol in a diesel vehicle:

1. Be Aware of Fuel Types

Always be aware of the fuel types your vehicle uses. Diesel and petrol nozzles are typically different sizes, so make sure you choose the correct nozzle.

2. Label the Fuel Cap

Label your fuel cap with the correct fuel type. This will serve as a visual reminder to use the correct fuel type.

3. Pay Attention When Refuelling

Pay attention when refuelling your vehicle. Don’t get distracted by your phone or other things. Focus on the task at hand and double-check the fuel type before you start pumping.

4. Keep a Fuel Diary

Keep a fuel diary and record the fuel type and the amount you’ve refuelled. This will help you keep track of your fuel consumption and prevent any mix-ups.

5. Use Fuel Additives

Fuel additives can help prevent fuel system problems and improve fuel economy. Additives can also improve the lubricity of the fuel and protect the engine.


Putting petrol in a diesel vehicle can be a costly mistake, but it’s not the end of the world. By following the steps we’ve outlined in this article, you can prevent further damage and get back on the road. Remember to always be aware of the fuel types your vehicle uses, label your fuel cap, pay attention when refuelling, keep a fuel diary, and use fuel additives.

Petrol in a diesel vehicle

  • Can I drive my diesel vehicle if I accidentally put petrol in it?
    No, you should not drive your diesel vehicle if you've accidentally put petrol in it. Starting the engine can cause more damage, so it's best to call for assistance and have the fuel system drained and cleaned.
  • Will putting petrol in a diesel engine cause permanent damage?
    It depends on the amount of petrol and how long the engine has been running. If caught early, the damage can be minimal, but if left unchecked, it can cause permanent damage to the fuel system and engine.
  • Can I fix the problem myself?
    We don't recommend fixing the problem yourself as it can be dangerous and cause further damage. It's best to call for assistance from a mechanic or breakdown service.
  • How much will it cost to fix the problem?
    The cost of fixing the problem can vary depending on the extent of the damage. It can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds.
  • Can I claim for the damage on my insurance?
    It depends on your insurance policy. Some policies may cover the damage, while others may not. It's best to check with your insurance provider.

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