What to do if accidentally inject Diesel in a Petrol Car?

Accidental fueling is a common problem these days. With three types of fueling options available on a pumping station, a person can accidentally stand in the incorrect lane. But the problem arises when people face the consequences of this problem.

The engine of the car is designed to run on a specific fuel type which corresponds to the weight of the fuel. The method of ignition of diesel and petrol are different in the automobiles, additionally, the types of engines for these fuels are also different.[irp]

The diesel engine is also known as a compression engine and uses an internal combustion to ignite. It means that the fuel that has been injected into the combustion chamber is compressed at high pressure to gain high temperature which ignites the diesel fuel.

This contrasts with petrol engine which uses spark to ignite the petrol. The difference in ignition styles is because diesel is a heavy fuel; it contains many hydrocarbons which make it quite difficult to ignite a small spark.

On the other hand, petrol is a very light liquid and due to its low number of hydrocarbons requires a very small spark to ignite. The combustion mechanism of the diesel engine involves allowing the air into the combustion cylinder and the piston compresses it up to 14-25 times of its original volume, resulting in an increased temperature of about 500°C.

Once the required compression is achieved, a mist of fuel is sprayed over the air by an electronic fuel injection system which is akin to an aerosol can. The air is so hot that the fuel instantly ignites without the need of a spark plug.

If you have accidentally injected a patrol car with diesel, then the first option should always be complete drainage of the fuel tank. However, if you have filled two liters or less of diesel that is less than 5% of a full tank and you may fill you your remaining tank up to the mark with petrol, except for the unusual smoky exhaust your car will not show any signs of damage.

But if you have injected more than two liters that are more than 5% of your fuel capacity then it is advisable that you should not under any circumstances start your engine. If you are close to any garage than bring a mechanic to have a look at your engine otherwise, you need to tow your car to a garage. The mechanic will drain the fuel and clean the spark plugs.

If you have started the engine on diesel before knowing that you have injected it, then you must drain the fuel tank and flush the fuel lines with clean patrol, if you have started to drive and then see smoky exhaust, stop the car safely, tow it to a garage and carry out a complete flush of the engine.

As an extra precaution, change your fuel filter within a few days of this incident. If you continue to experience any problems due to contamination of the sensors and control, contact a reputable garage or a mechanic to look at your engine.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.