What Happens If You Put the Wrong Type of Fuel in Your Car?

Wrong Fuel in San Diego, CA

Stopping at the gas station is an everyday, mundane activity, which means there’s always the chance your mind could wander when filling up your vehicle. Though the chances of adding the wrong type of fuel are fairly slim, it’s far from impossible. If you’ve happened to make this mistake and need to know what to do next, the National City auto insurance experts at American Tri-Star are here to fill you in.

Lower Octane Fuel

If your car manufacturer recommends the use of premium fuel and you accidentally put in a lower octane product, don’t worry. The sensors on newer engines should catch the error and adjust the rate of fuel injection and ignition to compensate. You may notice a difference in pickup, but there will not be any permanent damage to the engine.

Higher Octane Fuel

If you normally use regular unleaded and accidentally fill the tank with premium, you might be expecting a disaster. However, even if you are driving an older car with an engine that includes a carburetor, nothing bad should happen. You won’t notice an improved performance, but the fuel shouldn’t cause any problems with the engine either.

Diesel Fuel

If you add diesel fuel instead of regular or premium, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter some problems because it won’t lubricate the engine parts adequately. You may still get where you want to go, but the engine will need some replacement parts soon. If you accidentally put unleaded fuel in a diesel engine, don’t expect to get more than a few miles away before problems develop. The engine will likely skip, cough, and eventually die. At this point, you’ll need to have the fuel lines cleaned and see what type of damage has taken place.

Any time you fill the tank with the wrong product, it pays to call for help immediately. Even if the risk of damage is small, your best bet is to have the car towed to the shop. A professional can safely empty the tank and clean it, preventing any of the fuel from getting into the line.

Daydreaming at the gas station isn’t the only way to do damage to your car. Make sure you’re covered with cheap National City car insurance in case something goes wrong either on or off the road. Call American Tri-Star today at 619-474-3900 and one of our qualified agents can put together a free quote.