Not all fuels are the same. Don’t be complacent if your car is still moving when you are aware that you have filled it with the wrong fuel. For sure, it is still moving now, but it could come to a sudden halt. Worse, you could be in the middle of the road when it happens.
How does it affect the engine?
As soon as you’ve turned the vehicle on, the damage within the engine will start to become apparent. Diesel is usually oily and diesel engines are designed to accommodate this type of fuel. If you use petrol, it strips the diesel engine of it’s lubricants which stop it ticking over. It will also damage the seals. Eventually, this could lead to the engine seizing. If this happens, the entire engine is damaged and other essential components are also affected.
When the problem is serious, it could even prevent the engine being repairable. The damage could be irreversible and this could prove very costly. As you start the ignition, even simply unlocking the door could cause serious damage to the car. It might seem crazy, considering how we have evolved in terms of automobile technology, but this is a problem that is yet to be addressed. For now, expect the worst if you’ve placed the wrong fuel in car.
How much would it cost to do the repair?
If the engine was not turned on because you noticed the mistake right away, or you have stopped just a few minutes after re-fuelling, you are lucky. A fuel-tank drain would suffice. The cost is around 200 euros possibly more, depending on the severity of the damage and the amount of fuel to be drained. Regardless, it will still be a costly mistake that could have been easily avoided by taking greater care when re-fuelling. This could prove even more costly if it happens when you are in the middle of a remote area, as you could be charged more.
If you have driven the car for quite some time after misfuelling, there could be several components that have been damaged. The amount for repair could run into thousands of euros. It comes to a point where it is no longer economically practical to repair the car and replacement is a better option. Either way, it is an expensive choice.
Will this be covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, in most cases, it won’t. Unless you have taken comprehensive protection or you pay higher insurance premiums, you will shoulder the entire cost of the repair. You have to inform your insurance provider though, so they are aware, should it happen again.
It is a big problem if you experience misfuelling. Find a way to prevent it whenever possible. Place a sticker near the fuelling inlet, always have a contact number to hand, of a few companies that can drain the fuel. Don’t wait until the problem gets worse before doing anything about it.