Filling a fuel tank either with petrol or diesel is such a mundane task that it is a very likely event that you might pick up the wrong nozzle due to slight inattention while reading a text message.
But this seemingly small error can get your car towed to a car dealer or an independent repair shop, and soon turn into a $500-$1,000 expensive repair in the shape of draining and cleaning of your tank.
This is when you realize your mistake and don’t make the error of trying to drive away with the wrong type of gas. But what if you have done that already? Chances are you won’t go very far, not even over a mile. Soon, the fuel line will start sending a fresh batch of gasoline from the tank and essentially ruin your engine.
Diesel engines are different in construction and have different working principles, they are made for higher pressures and don’t use spark plugs to ignite. So the very first anomaly would be that the petrol would start burning up a lot quicker (due to higher volatility than diesel), thus messing up the engine stroke routine. So while the stroke is in the compression phase, the petrol will burn up due to high-pressure ratios and try to initiate a premature power stroke. This can only spell disaster for the engine.
In a 2007 or newer clean diesel engines, even a small amount of gasoline will damage the extremely sensitive emissions control components like DPF, OxyCat, and SCR. In older engines, a lightly diluted mix, say 90 percent diesel/10 percent gasoline, would likely go through without causing much harm. But it will still reduce engine power, and create a lot more noise due to those aforementioned reasons.
A higher concentration of this mix spells real trouble, and almost certainly causes catastrophic damage to the mighty diesel engine.
Here’s a guideline on Do’s and Don’ts if you mistakenly pour petrol instead of diesel in your tank.
DO NOT start the engine, even just to move the car from the pump.
DO NOT turn the ignition on, even just to unlock the steering wheel, as this could activate an electric fuel pump and feed tainted fuel into the engine injectors.
DO tell the station attendant that you cannot move the car and pay for the fuel dispensed.
DO call your roadside service provider and request a tow to either the vehicle’s brand dealership or an independent repair shop.
DO have the fuel tank drained and receive confirmation that the contaminated fuel was limited to the fuel tank.
Watch the video below to know about the repercussions in detail!