Damages and What To Do When You Pumped The Wrong Fuel

Updated Oct 09, 2018 | Same topic: Let's Drive Smart!

Pumped the wrong fuel in your car? Here are some points to keep in mind.

It’s one of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make in your life. Men commit it more than women and studies have shown that the most workers that make this mistake are the policemen. It might sound simple but it actually costs millions of pesos lost to our vehicle drivers – pumping the wrong fuel into our car; be it fueling gas in a diesel engine or vice versa.

pumped the wrong fuel

Pumped the wrong fuel? Stay calm. Here are some of the things you should know about misfuelling your car

It’s inevitable, at least once in your life you might experience it. You might be in a hurry, you might be preoccupied with a personal problem and can’t think straight, or you might have more than one car and change it every now and then, misfuelling is more likely to happen.

In the Philippines, we don’t get to fuel our own car. But it can still be put to consideration if the attendants are not paying that much attention, it’s his/her first day at work, you ask someone else to do it and the mistake just happened. It can be like that.

1. Diesel vs. Gas

Diesel and gas are relatively similar to each other in that they are both internal combustion engines designed to turn chemical energy into mechanical energy (the moving of the pistons up and down inside the cylinders). Diesel acts as a lubrication to all the parts of the car’s engine as well as starting the car to power up.

Diesel needs to be compressed to do its job. Gas, on the other hand, is the opposite, it doesn’t have the lubricating capability that the diesel has and makes use of spark plugs to ignite and power up the car.

gas vs diesel

It's better to fully undestand the different between diesel and gas in order to know avoid misfuelling

>>> Read more:

2. Effect of Getting Diesel Fuel in Gas Engine

As we have already stated, the nozzles are bigger so misfuelling diesel in a gas car is less likely to happen, but it still happens. When it does, the car will run for a few miles and then shut down, some won’t start at all. The car gas engine doesn’t have the compressors that diesel needs for it to be ignited.

When your car suddenly stopped, think about getting your car towed, and then all the diesel fuel being drained out of the gas lines. Sometimes if simply draining out the diesel fuel won’t work then the engine will have to be taken apart. It’s a lot of work and a lot of mess.

car towing

Most of the time, it is better to get your car towed and remove all the wrong fuel you have pumped

The damage also depends on how much diesel fuel you put in. You’re still fine with only having 1 gallon of it in your tank but if unfortunately, you have filled it up with diesel then you might need to replace other car parts as well. The cost might even make your headache, it can go up to P27,000 just to get it all done.

3. Effect of Getting Gas Fuel in a Diesel Engine

A diesel engine requires a lot of lubrication which gas fuel does not provide. With a gas fuel in a diesel engine, a lot of friction will happen thus causing damage to the fuel lines and pump. The damages are even more daunting when you put gas fuel in a diesel engine.

car engine smoke

Damage can cost up to P100,000 depending on the type of your car

You’ll run for a mile or so then “funny” things will happen. You’ll hear screechy noises from the car engine, there will be severe detonation, your car will start to “rock”, there will be smoke, it will eventually stop and other parts of the car will be damaged.

The entire fuel system – the fuel pump, fuel injectors, and fuel filter – would have been damaged and will need replacement. It might be less costly to just replace the entire engine if this is the case.

4. What to Do if You Put the Wrong Fuel in Your Engine

  • If you haven’t started the car, don’t. Replacements will mostly be avoided if you don’t start the car and not let the parts rub against each other and the wrong fuel.
  • Get the key out of the ignition and push the car to a safe spot.
  • If you have not left the gas station, tell the attendant what you have done or if it is the attendant that made the mistake, let him and the manager know. They will process all the draining for you if they are liable.

what to do when you pumped a wrong fuel

This incident does happen. But as mentioned earlier, stay calm and process what you need to do in mind

  • If it happens that you are in the middle of the road, do step #1 and #2. Then call a towing company.
  • You can ask the towing service to bring the car to your home and have it worked on by your trusted mechanic or bring it to the nearest service center.
  • No matter what happens, stay calm. It will be fixed even if it comes at a price. You are not losing your car, think of it as part of maintenance and accidental costs.

5. Prevention

Carmakers have done their part. The nozzles of the different pumps are color coded and are of different sizes. There are even labels in the pumps “Gasoline” and “For Diesel Only”.

prevent misfuelling

The best advice we can give you is really just to be aware. That’s easier said than done so we put up some helpful tips you can take

  • Be clear in stating your fuel needs to the gas station attendant.
  • You may use technology. Put up reminders or notes in your smartphone to label your cars (if you have one) or set up a notification alarm with notes about refueling day.
  • Pay attention to the work on your car when at the gas station so you yourself can check if everything is correct.
  • There are fuel caps available too to be placed on your car’s fuel neck. Depending on the type, the cost ranges from P1,000 to P2,000 and can even be bought online. It’s definitely worth it rather than spending hundred thousand pesos on fixing a damaged engine.

>>> Click here to get more helpful tips and advice for all car owners on Philkotse.com

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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