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Put Petrol into a Diesel Car? Here's What to Do Next


It can easily happen. A momentary lapse in concentration or a mix-up at the fuel pump, and you find yourself staring at the nozzle realising you just put petrol into your diesel car. Misfuelling is an all-too-common mistake, but the good news is, it's not the end of the world. In this blog post, we'll walk you through what to do next and how to minimise any potential damage.

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Understanding the mistake

Putting petrol into a diesel car may be a common error, but it's crucial to understand why it's a problem. Petrol and diesel engines work differently. Diesel engines rely on the fuel's lubrication properties to keep the components running smoothly, petrol strips this lubricant which can damage to the engine.

4 key steps to take

Ok, you’ve put petrol in your diesel car - don’t panic! Here are some steps you can take to minimise damage.

Stop! Don't start the engine

As soon as you realise you’ve made a mistake, resist the urge to start your car. Starting the engine could circulate the petrol through the fuel system, making the problem worse.

Call for professional help

There are many service providers located around Ireland you can contact to have your car looked after professionally. Qualified mechanics have the expertise to assess the situation and offer assistance in resolving the issue.

Avoid draining the tank yourself

While it may be tempting to try and siphon out the mixed fuel yourself, it can be risky without the right equipment. DIY attempts may lead to spills and pose safety hazards.

Leave it to the experts

Let trained professionals handle the fuel system. They will drain and flush the contaminated fuel, replacing it with the correct fuel.

Preventing future mistakes

Stay focused at the pump

Take an extra second to double-check the fuel type before inserting the nozzle into your tank. Distractions happen, but being aware of what you’re doing can save you from a costly mistake. According to the Irish Examiner, garages often charge €440 or more for a fuel drain, while replacement parts could cost  €2,000 or more depending on the level of damage.

Use fuel labels

Consider placing a label on, or near your fuel cap, indicating the correct fuel type. This serves as a helpful reminder, especially if you share the car with others.

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Heed the nozzle colour

Petrol and diesel nozzles often have different colours. Familiarise yourself with the colour-coding at your local service station to reduce the chances of confusion.

Putting petrol into a diesel car happens more often than you'd think, but quick and informed actions can minimise the damage. Remember to stay calm, resist the urge to start the engine and seek professional help. Staying focused at the pump and using fuel labels can help you avoid making this mistake in the future. Or, if you’re hoping to avoid fuel problems altogether, why not consider an electric vehicle?

Remember, if you ever find yourself in this predicament — just take a deep breath, there's a solution, and your car could be back on the road with a little expert care.

An Post Insurance Car Insurance customers should refer to their policy documents for information on their specific cover and any terms or exclusions that apply.

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