Fuel incorrectly filled – what to do now

Incorrect filling? That doesn’t happen to me, says the experienced driver. After all, the ADAC breakdown service alone dispatches around 5,000 times a year to help motorists out of trouble because of an incorrect tank filling. What you should consider in the case of incorrect refueling.

If you don’t pay attention for a few seconds, the force of habit may cause a mistake at the fuel pump and the wrong fuel will splash into the tank. This mainly happens in vehicles with diesel engines. This little inattentiveness can become expensive if you do wrong now. Damage caused by incorrect filling is not covered by any insurance.

The classic human error is primarily the cause of incorrect refueling when the driver uses the wrong nozzle as a result of carelessness. In addition, the increasingly complex variety of petrol pumps has the potential for confusion. This is also increased by the fact that petrol nozzles fit in diesel fillers and that advertising labels on the nozzles now often dominate the type designation. And because modern diesel engines are often acoustically indistinguishable from petrol engines, the wrong tap is often used in rental and rental cars – even with a corresponding sticker on the fuel cap.

Incorrectly refueled: petrol instead of diesel

The most common misfueling is filling up with gasoline in a diesel vehicle. This can still work well for older engines without direct injection, because they easily tolerate smaller amounts of petrol in diesel. In the past, diesel cars were even deliberately refueled with a little petrol in winter to improve the flow properties of the fuel. But modern diesel engines are very allergic to gasoline – even to small quantities.

Those who accidentally fill up with petrol instead of diesel with today’s common-rail diesel vehicles are now at risk of an engine damage costing several thousand euros. Therefore: If the error is noticed immediately, under no circumstances start the engine and drive off! Now only a specialist can help who removes the fuel from the tank with a special suction device.

Petrol in a diesel system destroys the lubricating film in the injection system. If the engine is already running on the wrong fuel, it may be necessary to replace the entire injection system, including the high-pressure pump, injectors, fuel lines and tank. And that will be expensive.