Whether you’re rushing on the school run, in the thick of a work commute, or even using a new or hired vehicle, accidents can happen, and you’re not alone if you’ve fallen victim to the common mistake of misfuelling.
Simply put, misfuelling is when you use the wrong type of fuel for your vehicle, with diesel drivers being more prone to this blunder due to the wider fuel filler that can accommodate petrol pumps, too.
According to RAC, 150,000 Brits make this fuel faux pas annually, which can set drivers back up to £1,2952 plus more, depending on the damage caused. However, don’t panic; you can easily save time and money by knowing what to do if you find yourself in this scenario.
Switch off and remove the key
Put the car into neutral and leave the engine switched off, even removing the key entirely, as this can cause the most damage to your vehicle.
Ask for help
Let the petrol station staff know what has happened. More often than not, they can help you with more tailored next steps and advise you immediately.
Make the call
Call your breakdown cover provider or a local garage so that they can drain and flush your fuel system as soon as possible. Be sure to call your insurance provider in case of any lasting damage, as your policy may not cover misfuelling.
Turning on the ignition after misfuelling causes the most damage to your vehicle, so you must avoid doing this if possible. However, in some cases, you may not have noticed the mistake before continuing your journey, so David also shares five easy-to-spot misfuelling warning signs:
- A loud knocking sounds as you accelerate.
- Excessive smoke from the exhaust.
- Slower acceleration.
- Engine warning lights are on.
- The vehicle will not restart.
It’s important to pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so and complete the same three next steps you would do if you had noticed the mistake earlier.
David advises: “Prevention is always better than the cure, and the best way to avoid misfuelling is to put a sticker on the filler cover to remind you what fuel is required. You can also implement handy anti-misfuelling devices in your vehicle as a further precaution.
“The important thing is not to panic; decision-making can be harder if you don’t remain calm. Always remember that fuelling mistakes can happen, and there are many solutions, so always focus on safety first if you find yourself in this common situation.”