Have you ever been unlucky enough to have your car filled in with the wrong fuel by a careless attendant? Were you careless enough to do get your diesel tank loaded with petrol in full volume?
Or are you simply curious as to what happens if you put diesel into a petrol car? Well, read on to find out what really happens and maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll have a chance to undo your crimes.
Diesel In A Petrol Engine
With so many people switching to petrol cars as of late, it might so have happened that one petrol pump worker, while absent-mindedly talking on the phone, put diesel in petrol car by mistake. Well, undoing what’s done is a hard task, but all’s not lost.
What Happens In The Engine
First up, it should be understood that petrol and diesel are different kinds of fuel, with two different types of engines circling it. In engineering jargon, these are classified as SI (spark ignition) and CI (compression ignition) engines. For the sake of brevity, we’ll not delve deeper into what’s what but roughly, SI engines are to be paired with petrol and CI for diesel.
When diesel is poured into a petrol engine, well, nothing happens. Diesel is a fuel too thick even to start burning in an SI (spark ignition) engine. The only thing exploding will be your brain because of your anger. However, things are not so safe the other way around.
If you’d happened to catch that frustration monger while in action, take it easy. If your tank contains less than two litres of diesel, simply top the rest up with petrol. Your car should run fine, though the mileage might take a beating. The worst thing that can happen is minor damage to your engine.
More than two litres and the whole process gets extremely infuriating. But all’s not lost. There are companies dedicated to such cases where people put diesel in petrol car by mistake.
Now, if you’ve mistakenly started the engine, or realised that the engine’s been running on diesel for quite a while now, stop immediately. Just because diesel isn’t combustible in petrol engine doesn’t mean you are out of danger. Diesel is still a highly flammable liquid, capable of bursting into flames any second.
Knowing When You’re On Diesel
If you were oblivious to the fact that you had diesel in your tank, these signs would tell you whether you’re on diesel/a diesel-petrol mixture in your tank.
- The engine doesn’t start at all. This happens when your tank is filled with diesel for more than half of it.
- Your exhaust pipe exudes thick black smoke. Your car is mostly running on a petrol-diesel mixture, which is extremely detrimental to your engine.
- Engine starts misfiring. This happens while trying to start your car with the wrong fuel in it. Loud knocking sound is an indicator that your engine is misfiring.
Petrol In A Diesel Engine
A thousand times worse than having diesel in your petrol car is doing it the other way around. Let me give it to you plain and straight – having petrol in a diesel engine as the majority of your fuel will cause an explosion.
Petrol is a lighter in nature and is readily combustible; small amounts of heat generated in a CI engine will simply ignite the fuel. The explosion produced is big enough to dismantle your engine, or simply blow up your whole car to bits.
The incompatibility of engines does not matter here. The intrinsic nature of a CI engine is to have heat omnipresent within the engine; heat from one drive will be a component in the combustion process of the next drive. This is why older cars take some time to heat the engine up before taking off.
Once in contact with the slightest amount of heat, petrol goes berserk, so make sure you keep your eyes wide open to prevent disasters of such explosive nature.
I cannot stress this point enough-DO NOT START YOUR CAR AT ANY COST.
Just in case the magnitude of your mistake wasn’t so colossal, your car might run. A running car is no assurance that your car won’t explode into pieces later on. If you’re already driving, stop immediately.
Now, if you’re of restless and a dare devilish nature, a small amount of petrol in a diesel car might just be offset with topping it up with diesel, though again, we’re not promising you won’t lose your car. We certainly recommend decontamination for even the slightest levels of petrol in your engine.
When the quantity of petrol is noticeably high, that is, more than five litres of petrol, even God’s grace won’t help you in your will drive it. Manually push your car to the side and wait for the fuel recovery companies to take over.
Knowing When You’re On Petrol
If you’ve ever filled petrol in a diesel car by mistake and drove it, chances are you’re already dead. In the off-chance that you’re alive, these on-the-road tips might be useful.
- When there’s petrol in your engine, your vehicle will become considerably difficult to start. Make sure to take extra precautions so that you don’t attribute this failure to start to something else.
- A car running on fuel with petrol in a conspicuous quantity will deliver thick black smoke through the exhaust pipe. This is because your car is running on a mixture of diesel and petrol, with diesel in the majority. This is not just bad for your engine; it might ruin It to the point of no return.
- Engine starts making loud noises under load. If you’re a diesel vehicle owner, treat these three signs with the highest amount of cautionary actions they deserve. Your life is too important to let lethargy make you ignore/delay in reacting to these threats.