Distractions are a normal part of daily life. Sometimes they emerge externally, like through phone calls, text messages, or arguments among siblings. Other times, they arise from internal causes, such as fatigue, stress, or boredom. While only some distractions lead to unfortunate consequences, others can lead to other noteworthy or costly problems or even compromise your safety.
For instance, suppose you drive to the gas station while answering your phone. You exit your car, open the fuel access door, grab a pump, and mistakenly fill your tank with the wrong gas, such as diesel. But is it a big deal?
Or, maybe while filling your tank at the correct pump, you notice that what is coming from the nozzle is not gasoline. Instead, you fill your tank with something else, not knowing someone filled the unleaded gas tanks with diesel at the station. What happens if you drive away? Will there be consequences? How different are the two types of fuels? Let’s dig deeper into each question and how to move forward if this situation arises.
Diesel vs. Regular Gas: What’s the Big Deal?
Before identifying what happens when you fill a gas tank with diesel, we must first understand the differences between diesel and gas engines. To start, both gas and diesel-powered vehicles have internal combustion engines. Yet neither functions the same way.
Gas-powered automobiles typically have a spark-ignited internal combustion engine, where fuel injects into the combustion chamber and blends with air. Then, a spark from the spark plug ignites the air/fuel mixture. Diesel vehicles use a compression-ignited system where the diesel fuel injects into the engine’s combustion chamber, and high temperatures ignite it when the piston compresses the gas. Because of this, diesel engines have more substantial torque to move heavier loads.
But just as you cannot use AAA batteries in electronic games or toys that only take AAs, you cannot run a gas vehicle on diesel fuel. Why? They are two different fuels for two distinct types of engines.
The consistency of diesel is thick like oil and is more lubricating but less flammable than gasoline. Gas, however, is thin and ignites fast because it can rapidly change from a liquid to a vapor. Since they are so different, mixing up fuels can lead to expensive consequences. What are they? Keep reading!
What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car?
When you pull up to the pump, you’ll likely find three grades of gasoline available. These include regular, mid-grade, and premium. Besides these, you will also find a nozzle for diesel fuel in a separate area with a distinct label, which is often green. The nozzle is usually larger than those intended for gasoline to help prevent drivers from accidentally filling their gas tanks with the wrong fuel. Hence, filling up with a diesel pump becomes more challenging. But it’s still possible to do.
If it happens, it’s essential to understand that diesel fuel does not mix with a gasoline fuel pump system. So, having it in your gas tank can cause damage to your engine’s injectors, seals, and other internal engine components. Therefore, keeping your car turned off once it’s in your tank is best. Should you start the car, the fuel pump will draw diesel into your engine and clog the fuel system, turning it over. It could also damage the engine block’s moving parts. In addition, you might hear abnormal sounds or see smoke from your exhaust: a gas engine cannot combust diesel fuel.
What Should You Do Next?
If you put diesel in your car and notice the mistake, stay put and DO NOT start the engine. Before you do anything else, contact a towing service to bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop. The sooner a skilled mechanic removes the diesel from your tank, the better. Clearing and flushing the fuel lines will help prevent clogging and damage to the engine, fuel system, and injectors.
Driving away, however, could lead to extensive damage, costing you thousands of dollars or more than your car is worth. By keeping your engine off and towing your vehicle to a repair shop ASAP, you will help prevent extensive and permanent damage.
Protect Yourself from Unfortunate Incidents
Investing in a reliable auto breakdown coverage plan with 24/7 roadside assistance is one of the most proactive ways to prepare for car-related emergencies before they happen. Instead of scrambling to find a tow company or worrying about the high-cost repairs, you can relax knowing your warranty program is there to protect you.
But before committing to a contract, ensure you understand what your agreement covers and excludes. Only some providers protect drivers from misfuelling, and they may offer that coverage as a stand-alone policy. Check out our top extended warranty providers here to find the plan that works for you and your budget.