What Happens if You Put the Wrong Type of Fuel in a Car?

Oops! You accidentally put unleaded gasoline into your diesel car engine. Now what? Well, automotive fuel systems are designed to use a specific type of fuel for optimal performance and efficiency. So if you use the incorrect type of fuel in your car or truck, you could be looking at some mechanical consequences.

Continue reading to learn what could happen if you use the incorrect type of fuel in your vehicle, including what you should do if you make this common fuel pump error.

Indianapolis Fuel System Repair 317-475-1846
Indianapolis Fuel System Repair 317-475-1846

Gas Pump Confusion

At modern-day gas stations, you will find a series of fuels to choose from, including unleaded, premium, diesel, and more. As a result, gas pump confusion and fueling mistakes happen every day. Most of the time, a fuel switch up is harmless, but when it involves diesel fuel, the result could be quite detrimental.

Gasoline in a Diesel Engine

If you have a diesel car engine, and you accidently use regular gasoline in the tank, you could be facing some serious damage, spanning from corroded fuel lines to complete engine failure. If you instantly realize you have made this mistake, do not start the car. Starting the engine can make the situation much worse, as it will send the fuel from the tank, through the fuel lines, and circulate it within the engine. Instead, you will need to immediately have your vehicle towed to a trusted mechanic to have the entire fuel system flushed out.

If you start the engine before realizing that you have put gasoline in your tank, unfortunately, the most likely result will be total engine breakdown, but not before the injection pump and the injectors experience complete mechanical failure. There is no telling when this breakdown might occur, but it is not safe to drive a vehicle under these impending conditions.

Why is it So Bad?

The reason why you cannot use regular gasoline in a diesel car engine mostly has to do with petroleum refining process. You see, the process of making gasoline (petroleum) gives the fuel much higher boiling points, roughly between 105 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Diesel fuel, on the other hand, boils between 500 and 650 degrees Fahrenheit, making it incompatible for gasoline designed automobiles.

On a more technical scope, diesel engines do not have spark plugs, and instead, use compression to ignite the fuel. Using gasoline in a diesel engine will result in an increased amount of pressure of the early ignition, which in turn, can damage pistons, warp connecting rods, and even blow the head off the engine.

Diesel Fuel in a Gasoline Engine

If you were to put diesel fuel into a car engine designed for standard gasoline, you can expect some complications, but none comparable the scope of using gasoline in a diesel engine. If this were to happen to you, simply follow the same advice as above. Do not start the car if you realize your mistake, and have it towed to a mechanic right away. If you do start the engine, the fuel pump, lines, filter, and other components may get ruined.

Indianapolis Fuel System Repair

Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for specialized fuel system repair in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are ASE licensed and certified car mechanics who provide a wide range of foreign and domestic auto repair services, as well as, free estimates, coupons, car care advice, and more. Request a free estimate, today.

ASE Certified Automotive Mechanics 317-475-1846
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