What to do when you misfuel your car?

Mistakes can easily happen especially when a person has so many things going on inside his/her mind. While some mishaps can be quickly solved, some require careful evaluations and just the right actions – or else, disaster may happen. 

Take pumping the wrong fuel for example. If you happen to have two or more cars in your garage and you interchangeably use them on a daily basis, chances are this article is relatable to you. Filling your diesel tank with gasoline, or vice versa, poses a great threat to both you (financial-wise) and your car. This is because diesel has the exact opposite job compared to gasoline. Here, let us tell you why.

Diesel, gasoline – what could go wrong? Both are fuel, right?

Yup, you got that right. Both fuel types power a motor vehicle. However, they won't have different names if they work exactly the same, would they? Diesel, aside from powering your mill, acts as a lubricant for the engine itself. So, you wouldn't want gasoline in your diesel car as it doesn't have the capability to do that. Instead, gasoline will increase the friction on certain parts of your diesel engine, which would certainly ruin your mill. Yikes.

Same as when diesel is put in a gasoline car, as gasoline is ignited in a very different way as compared to diesel. Diesel mills compresses diesel for it to ignite, while gasoline ones use spark for it to be combusted. Thing is, when you pump diesel in your gasoline car, it won't start simply because it could cause problems with your fuel system, such as clogging.

However, in rare cases, you might commit this mistake given some instances, especially when you got used to pumping a certain fuel on your previous car. If you ever do, don't panic. Remember to remain calm and carefully follow these steps.

If you haven't started your car yet, don't.

Switching the engine on will mix the gasoline and diesel together, which if fused will act as a solvent. This will ruin parts of your mill that were peacefully working before. You wouldn’t want an engine replacement, which is probably the worst-case scenario you'd end up in.

What you need to do is take the key off the ignition keyhole and, if possible, have someone to help you push your car to a safe spot. If you haven't left the gasoline station yet, call the attendant and tell him/her what happened.

It’s best to inform the gas attendant.

In the Philippines, we don’t get to fuel our vehicles ourselves. There are these dedicated men and women who attend to fill our tanks. That means it’s rare to misfuel your car but in case the attendant is just on his/her first day, or he isn’t just sure about your instructions, it can probably happen.

So, if you directed him the wrong fuel, in which you realize just after it has been done, call the attendant again so he could assist you with your car. Some gasoline stations have service bays in them, where he could help you push your car to have it drained.

If you've driven away before you were able to realize, stop somewhere safe.

If you realize that you put the wrong type of fuel in the middle of the highway, don't wait for the next station and pull over somewhere safe. Some people believe that they can still drive home with the wrong fuel in their vehicle– which sounds like a bit of a nonsense. Keep in mind that the longer you keep your engine running with the wrong fuel, the bigger the problem you will face afterwards. 

As soon as you get to a safe spot, switch off your engine and take the key off the ignition keyhole. Do yourself a favor and don't try to start your car as you call in for help. Now that you're safely stopped, here are the next few things you need to do.

Call a towing company.

Remember, you must not turn your vehicle on. The best option there is in able to bring your vehicle to a service center is by calling a tow company. You may either ask them to transport your vehicle to your home, where you can have your trusted mechanic, or to the nearest service center.

Do note, however, that having your car towed comes with a price. This is one of your your most convenient bets in getting out of the said situation.

Call your preferred mechanic.

After you have successfully contacted the towing service of your choice, you may want to reach your trusty mechanic next. Any mechanic you know will do but it’s better if its someone you’ve had previous services with. He could help you drain the fuel out and the process may take precious amount of time depending on how long the wrong fuel has been in your system.

To wrap things up, here are the things you need to remember:

  1. Don’t start your engine.
  2. Don’t insert your key into the keyhole.
  3. Inform the gas station attendant as soon as you realize.
  4. Make sure your car is stopped on a secure location.
  5. Call a towing service if you’ve already gotten away from the station.
  6. Call your trusty mechanic.
  7. Be calm and don’t overreact. It will all be alright.

In addition, to avoid future misfuelling, you may opt to put some kind of reminder inside every car you own. If you own a sedan, crossover, and an SUV, which engine types differ from one another, stick a post-it or any kind of reminder in the cabin. It’s always safe to be sure.

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