Advice From the Emergency Breakdown Experts

A Stressful Experience

Filling up with the wrong fuel can be very frustrating, these things rarely happen when you have time to spare and more often than not they occur when motorists are most distracted, such as on the way to work in the busy rush hour traffic with their minds on the day ahead and not on their current activity of filling up with fuel.

Motoring has also changed dramatically over the last 20 years and there are now few motorists with mechanical knowledge outside of topping up water, oil, tyre pressure and filling up with fuel. This lack of understanding means that, very often, your first reaction may be panic as the possibility of a huge repair bill looms.

Why is filling up with the wrong fuel type such a problem?

Diesel fuel contains lubricants which ensure that all metal components that come into contact with each other in a diesel engine fuel system, work together smoothly with no build-up of friction or heat. Unleaded petrol, on the other hand, is a solvent with no lubricating qualities. When unleaded petrol is put into a diesel fuel system and the vehicle engine is started, it will run for a short while until the friction between moving parts causes over heating which in turn causes the vehicle to stall. This is especially the case with modern vehicles which will detect a problem quickly and the ECU will shut off power to the engine to prevent potential damage.

There is also the possibility of a build-up of tiny metal fragments sheared off the moving parts that come into contact with each other without the necessary lubrication. These can make their way through the fuel system to the injectors causing potential blockages.

Once the vehicle engine has stalled, if the motorist has not noticed their mistake and has driven away from the fuel station forecourt, it cannot be restarted until all traces of the wrong fuel type have been removed from the fuel system. Many incidents attended by wrong fuel recovery engineers tend to be where a vehicle has stalled on a main road or at a busy junction so they will always arrive with the correct equipment needed to tow a vehicle to a safe place before any remedial action can take place.
What do the wrong fuel experts suggest?

The experts suggest that, in fact, there is no reason to panic. In reality, it is very rare for a vehicle fuel system to be so badly affected that an expensive repair is required. Unfortunately, there is an awful lot of contrary information on the internet and in the media written by authors with little in depth knowledge of the consequences of putting the wrong fuel in a vehicle and the chances are that a motorist may have seen or heard some of this scare mongering. It is very easy for an unscrupulous mechanic or main dealer to pull the wool over a customer’s eyes and suggest a costly repair as the intricacies of modern vehicle fuel system operation are not usually common knowledge.