wrong fuel in tank

What to do if you put the wrong fuel in your tank

Life is full of distractions and it’s easy to get caught off guard, especially when doing some of our most routine tasks, like filling up your van’s fuel in a fuel station. Even though you think it won’t happen to you, it just might! At Insure My Van, we like to help our customers at all times.

That is why we put together a guide that outlines what you should do if you accidentally put the wrong fuel in your van! Putting the wrong fuel in your tank happens more often than you would think, so it might be worth reading…  

wrong fuel in tank

Accidentally putting the wrong fuel in your tank

Picture it now, you hop out of your van, grab the petrol pump, release the cap of your fuel tank and insert the pump. You have two more deliveries to make before the end of the day and it’s already half-four.

What’s more, you haven’t delivered to this area of town before so you’re not sure which route would be best to take. Just before you pull the pump out, you look down and glaring right back up at you is the word “PETROL”. Oh no, you drive a diesel van! What are you going to do now? 

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Keep the engine off

Although your initial reaction might be to hop back into your van and turn on the ignition, this is exactly what you should not do. Leave your engine switched off and avoid putting your key in the ignition. When petrol is added to diesel, this combination starts to dissolve the lubricant.

Turning on your ignition circulates the mixture and causes friction to build up between the components of the vehicle, which can cause significant damage to different parts of your van.   

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What to do if you have already turned on the engine

If you have already turned on the ignition of your van, don’t panic just yet! Turn off the engine immediately. If you have already left the garage and you’re on the road, look for somewhere to pull over safely.

Some people misfuel their vehicle and then drive home without even noticing as quite often your vehicle will not break down immediately after you use the wrong fuel.  

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Push your van to a safe place

Once the ignition is off, the next thing you should do is put the vehicle into neutral. If you happen to still be parked at the fuel station, we recommend telling the staff at the petrol station what happened.

You should ask a member of staff if they would be able to help you push your vehicle to a safe space that is out of the way for other drivers.  

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Call your van insurance provider

At this point, you should ring your van insurance company to see if your insurance policy includes breakdown assistance. You should provide the insurance company with as many details as possible. Your insurance provider will be able to tell you if they can help.

If you do have breakdown assistance included in your insurance policy, they will send someone to assist you with the next steps. However, if you do not have breakdown assistance, you should ring a nearby garage to ask for a misfuel specialist. Misfuel specialists have the expertise to deal with the problem and they will drain your fuel tank.  

The level of damage to your vehicle will depend on how long you were driving before you realized that you used the wrong fuel. Although putting the wrong fuel in your vehicle is not a complete nightmare, we do recommend avoiding the situation as it can affect the pipes, filters, injectors and fuel tank of your vehicle.

It’s best practice to be as mindful as possible when filling up your fuel. It may also be worth investing in a fuel cap that fits to the neck of your fuel tank so that the petrol nozzle will not fit into a diesel fuel tank.