Wrong Fuel in Your Car: 7 Steps to Address the Issue

mechanic checking vehicle

In a moment of distraction or unfamiliarity with a different car, you’ve accidentally filled your petrol-powered car with diesel at the fuel station. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. This is a common mistake and happens to thousands of British drivers each year. While it can be a stressful situation, acting quickly and correctly can save your vehicle from extensive damage:

Step 1. Do Not Start the Engine

As soon as you realise that you’ve filled up with the wrong fuel, do not start the engine. Starting the engine will circulate the diesel through your car’s fuel system, causing more extensive damage. If you’ve already started the engine, turn it off immediately. The less diesel that flows through your car’s system, the less damage it will cause.

Step 2. Move Your Car to a Safe Place (If Possible)

If you haven’t left the petrol station and your car is blocking the pump, ask for assistance to push your vehicle to a safe spot away from the pump. However, if you are unable to move the car without starting the engine, it’s best to leave it where it is.

Step 3. Inform the Fuel Station Staff

Let the staff at the fuel station know about the mistake, as they can provide guidance and may be able to help you contact a breakdown service or a mobile fuel draining company.

Step 4. Call Your Breakdown Service or a Fuel Draining Company

Contact your breakdown service provider, and inform them about the situation. They will advise you on the next steps and send help to your location. If you don’t have a breakdown cover, you can call a mobile fuel draining company to come and drain the diesel from your car’s tank.

Step 5. Drain the Fuel Tank and Clean the System

The most crucial step in rectifying the error is to have the diesel drained from your fuel tank and have the fuel system flushed. Your breakdown service provider or the fuel draining company will do this on-site. In most cases, this will prevent any significant damage to your car. After draining the diesel and flushing the system, you can fill the tank with the correct petrol fuel.

Step 6. Check with a Professional Mechanic

Although draining and flushing the fuel system should solve the problem, it’s always a good idea to have your car checked by a professional mechanic to ensure that there’s no residual damage. The mechanic can also replace any fuel filters if necessary to prevent further issues.

Step 7. Prevention

To avoid making the same mistake in the future, consider using a fuel filler cap with a label indicating the correct fuel type for your car. Additionally, always double-check the fuel pump’s colour and label before filling it up, as this can save you from expensive repairs and stress.


Putting diesel in a petrol car can be a costly error, but acting quickly and following the steps above can minimise the damage and get you back on the road as soon as possible. Remember, it’s crucial not to start your engine and to call your breakdown service or a mobile fuel-draining company immediately. Properly draining and flushing your fuel system, followed by a check-up by a professional mechanic, can save your car and keep it running smoothly in the long run.

Fuel Fixer is the top expert in fixing incorrect fuel issues. Our local mobile team is always available to help you get back on track. If you are looking for 24/7 wrong fuel service no matter where you are in the UK, contact us right away!

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