What to do if you fill up with the wrong fuel​

Filling your tank with the wrong fuel is an easy mistake if you are in a hurry, and one that thousands of motorists make every year. If this happens to you, follow our simple guide to minimise the damage to your engine.

Don’t panic

  • The most important thing to remember is that you should not switch on the ignition. Circulating the wrong fuel around your engine can increase the damage and make it more expensive to repair.
  • Push your car away from the pumps to somewhere you can wait for assistance. Some breakdown assistance providers will come and drain the engine at the roadside but your vehicle may need to be towed to a garage.

Repairing your vehicle

  • If you have not started the engine, draining the fuel tank and flushing the engine is usually sufficient.
  • The worst-case scenario is that your car will need a new engine, but this is usually only necessary if you have driven the car with the wrong fuel in the engine.

Minimising the risk

  • Putting the wrong fuel type in your car is more likely to happen when you are confused or distracted. If you are at an unfamiliar fuel station, make sure to pay extra attention when you are at the pump.
  • If you drive two different cars regularly that use different fuel, consider differentiating between the two with something visual such as a sticker on the fuel cap.

For more helpful motoring advice, please see our driving tips pages or speak to one of the friendly automotive experts at RMB. Our dealerships in Darlington, Northallerton and Stockton offer a range of repair services to help you cope with every unexpected incident.