What Happens If You Put the Wrong Gas in Your Car

June 22, 2020Car Tips and Tricks
Jane Davis

Apart from being a freelance writer and moving expert, Jane is also an art and museum lover.

Picture adding salt to your coffee instead of sugar. That does not sound (or taste) so good, right? Sometimes, we all get lost in our thoughts, and we end up mixing up something we shouldn’t. Now imagine what happens if you put the wrong gas in your car. Just think about it, and please don’t try it at home, because this experiment can cost you a lot, as you’re going to see shortly.

Ever Wondered What Happens If You Put the Wrong Gas in Your Car?

There are several scenarios in this situation, depending on what kind of fuel mix-up you’ve made. Even when you’re able to drive back home safely and without any necessary repairs, this is not something you should do intentionally or frequently. Let’s explore some of the most common misfuelling combinations.

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What Happens If You Put 87 Instead of 93?

Octane numbers might seem confusing, but they’re just indicators of different properties and gasoline performance. Using different octane is not going to cause severe damage, but things can get tricky when you use a lower one. Depending on the model of your auto, the lower octane might work fine, but it could also cause damage. You will be able to notice poor engine performance and even overheating.

What If You Mix Premium and Regular Gas? Will Higher Octane Boost Performance?

Out of all options, this one is the least painful. Filling higher octane than recommended in the manual’s book is not going to harm your vehicle, but it’s also not going to help enhance its performance, which is a common myth. However, some engines aren’t designed to burn premium octane, so you could notice a lack of power.

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What If You Put Gas in a Diesel and Vice Versa

Putting gasoline instead of diesel is one of the worst fuel replacements to make because it can cause severe engine damage if you turn on your vehicle. It is hard to tell what type of failure you can expect since it could be the entire engine or just the injection pump. On the other hand, putting diesel in a gas-fueled vehicle is not so fatal. You will quickly notice a lot of smoke, and your auto will most likely stop, but that’s it.

Gasoline Vs. Diesel Engine

Although these two engines are similar, and both use numerous small explosions to convert fuel into energy, the difference lies in how these explosions occur.  Gasoline engines mix fuel with air, compress it, ignite through with a spark plug, and then exhaust it through the valve. In diesel engines, the air is compressed first, and fuel is injected afterward.

a man refueling
It does not take much to lose focus and reach for fuel that's not suitable for your car.

911 Emergency: What Happens If You Make a Fuel Mix Up?

It is a beautiful sunny day, and everything is going well, the radio is playing your favorite song, there’s no line at the petrol station, the ideal scenario. You thought you embarked on a stress-free road trip around the most famous routes in the United States until you realized you had made one small yet fatal mistake.

What to Do If You Notice the Mistake While Filling the Fuel Tank

If you notice while filling, it is still too late. Mixing premium and regular will probably still take you home safely, but putting gas into diesel, yikes. Ever wondered how to tow or ship inoperable vehicles? You’re about to find out first hand. Here’s how things should happen:

  • Stop filling the tank immediately
  • Don’t turn on the car and disconnect the battery
  • Push it away from the station and call an open trailer tow truck
  • Let professionals drain the tank and flush the entire system

What to Do If You Notice the Mistake While Driving

If you realize that while you’re driving, your driving anxiety levels are about to go high, so stay calm. You probably didn’t see a scenario like this even in the worst car movies ever, but it is not all lost. Here’s a brief step-by-step guide on what you should do:

  • Pull over and turn off the engine
  • Call a tow truck to transport your auto to the nearest mechanic
  • Let your mechanic drain and flush the entire system
man searching for a car shipping company
Don't fall into despair. If you can't drive and you need help, call a tow truck.

How Much It Costs to Repair a Car After Misfuelling

No matter how many tools and gadgets you have among the things you keep in your car, there is nothing you can do here on your own. One of the common misconceptions about new cars is that insurance covers all, but most of them specifically exclude the chance of covering the costs of misfuelling. We’ve seen that the damage is not always so severe, but just keep in mind that draining and flushing the entire system depends on the type of a car, and it is not always affordable. Not to mention the engine failures that can easily cost you thousands of dollars.

man fixing car
Let your mechanic examine the damage and help you with some tips on how to maintain it.

How to Avoid Putting the Wrong Fuel and Ruining Engines

If you’re familiar with driving stress but still can’t imagine living without a car, keep your eyes wide open and stay focused. There are so many tips for staying focused while driving, but not so much on things you need to do when fueling. This is particularly essential in situations that are stressful or when you’re tired, for example, while relocating cross country. That is why it’s always better to rely on car shipping services and choose door-to-door auto transport, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

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