6 Steps to Follow If You Put the Wrong Fuel in Your Car


As a British motorist, you may have experienced that sinking feeling when you realise you’ve just filled your car with the wrong type of fuel. It’s a surprisingly common mistake to make, with an estimated 150,000 drivers in the UK doing so each year. Before you panic, know that this situation is not the end of the world, and there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage.

Today, we’ll guide you through the process of what to do when you’ve put the wrong fuel in your car and how to avoid this costly mistake in the future:

Step 1. Don’t Start the Engine

As soon as you realise your mistake, do not, under any circumstances, start your car’s engine. Turning on the engine will circulate the incorrect fuel throughout your vehicle’s fuel system, potentially causing significant damage to the engine and other components. Instead, remove the keys from the ignition and put your car in neutral or park.

Step 2. Get to Safety

If your car is in a dangerous position, such as partially obstructing a fuel pump or in a busy area, ask for help from a petrol station attendant or a fellow motorist to push your vehicle to a safe location. Remember, it’s essential not to start the engine, as doing so could damage your car further.

Step 3. Notify the Petrol Station Staff

Inform the petrol station staff about the situation, as they may be able to offer assistance or advice. They may also need to make a note of the incident for their records.

Step 4. Call for Professional Help

Now that your car is safely out of harm’s way and the petrol station staff are aware of the situation, it’s time to call for professional help. Many breakdown services offer a fuel drain and recovery service, which will remove the incorrect fuel from your vehicle and, in most cases, have you back on the road in no time. It’s a good idea to have the contact details of a reputable breakdown service stored in your phone or vehicle, just in case you find yourself in this predicament.

Step 5. Be Prepared for Potential Costs

Depending on the type of breakdown cover you have, you may be charged for the fuel drain and recovery service. The cost of this service can vary, but it’s generally much cheaper than the potential damage caused by driving a vehicle with the wrong fuel. Additionally, you will need to pay for the correct fuel to refill your car once the wrong fuel has been removed.

Step 6. Learn from Your Mistake

Once your car is back up and running with the correct fuel, take the time to learn from this experience. To avoid making the same mistake in the future, consider the following tips:

  • Always double-check the fuel pump’s label before filling up your car. Petrol pumps typically have green handles, while diesel pumps have black handles.
  • Place a reminder sticker on your fuel cap or dashboard, indicating the correct fuel type for your vehicle. Many car manufacturers include such stickers as standard, but you can also purchase them online or at car accessory shops.
  • If you frequently drive different vehicles, be extra cautious when refuelling, as it can be easy to confuse the correct fuel type when switching between cars.


While putting the wrong fuel in your car can be a stressful and potentially costly mistake, it’s essential to remember that you’re not alone. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can minimise the damage to your vehicle and get back on the road as quickly as possible. And, most importantly, learn from your mistake to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Happy motoring!

Fuel Fixer is your go-to fuel fixer to help overcome wrong fuel problems to save your car, money, and time. If you are looking for 24/7 wrong fuel service in East Grinstead, work with us today!

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