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Petrol in Diesel Symptoms

If you are worried you may have put petrol in your diesel vehicle but are not sure we will now give you the definitive guide for petrol in diesel symptoms and contaminated fuel issues.

Modern living is ultimately the reason why most people nowadays misfuel their vehicles. Hectic lifestyles are a major contribution to the problem, with so much going on in your daily life, sometimes it is easy to get distracted and accidentally pick up the wrong fuel pump and start pumping petrol in to your diesel car or van. Most people only realise their mistake after they have started to fill the vehicle and it suddenly dawns on them that they have started filling the vehicle with the wrong fuel. Others don’t realise they have put the wrong fuel in the vehicle until they drive away from the fuel station, very quickly petrol in diesel symptoms start to become evident. The vehicle may start to “cough” and splutter when you put your foot down. Unlike a normal misfire, you cannot rev through the misfuel misfire, and the more you press the accelerator the worse the vehicle may feel. You may also notice some smoke coming from the rear of the vehicle and a distinctive “diesel knock” which is a metallic knocking sound coming from the engine. Petrol in diesel symptoms are very distinctive and are sometimes confused with fuel pressure problems.

Another reason people put petrol in diesel engines is because diesel engines nowadays are so refined that it is hard to tell if the vehicle is in fact a petrol or diesel. If you are constantly getting in and out of several vehicles for example, you may find you pick up the wrong pump thinking you are in a petrol vehicle when in fact you are driving a diesel. It is because this refined engineering that putting petrol in a diesel car is so devastating.Petrol in diesel symptoms become very apparent quickly when you misfuel a modern diesel engine. Back when diesel vehicles were distinctively loud and smokey, it was not uncommon for people to add a little bit of 4 star petrol to their diesel tank to give the fuel system a bit of a clean out! Nowadays, common diesel engines are so closely engineered that the slightest contamination of diesel fuel could cause the engine to stop and in severe cases cause massive engine and fuel system damage. Recognising the petrol in diesel symptoms quickly is imperative.

Common Rail Diesel Contaminationpetrol in diesel symptoms

Common Rail Diesel engines were introduced in the late 1990’s. Due to their electronic fuel control they reduced emissions, improved performance and made diesel engines quieter than their predecessors. With all these positive points, there were also a few negative issues. Because of the pressure the common rail diesel engine needs to run efficiently (in excess of 2,000 bar or 29,000 psi) all the engineered ¬†components have such small tolerances, that the smallest amount of dirt, carbon or even varnish can cause major engine damage. This coupled with the more recent emission controlling and exhaust gas after treatment means your fuel system needs to be as clean as it possibly can be. Introducing a solvent like petrol to the diesel system strips the fuel system of its lubrication, as diesel is in fact an oil (commonly known as heavy oil) which acts as a lubricant within the fuel pressure system including the high pressure pump and injectors.

Damage Caused by Contaminated Fuel

The main damage caused by petrol in diesel is from the lubrication being stripped from the high pressure pump by introducing petrol. The main issues you have is from the moving parts within the high pressure pump rubbing together and causing a swarf contaminant to the fuel. Under high pressure, these metal filings are then distributed around the fuel system, down the fuel lines then into the injectors. Even metallic particles the size of a human hair can clog and damage the injectors and cause damage to other moving parts of the fuel system. The cost of this can be in the thousands! This is why main dealers will inform you that if you misfuel your vehicle, they will want you to have the injectors, fuel lines and fuel pump and filter changed. In reality, this needn’t be the case! If you catch the issue fast enough, you are able to simply drain the contaminated fuel, flush through the system with clean fuel and start the engine.

contaminated fuel damage

Fuel Contamination Damage

Fuel Contamination

Metal Swarf in Diesel System

Fixing Petrol in Diesel

Fixing petrol in diesel contamination is a specialist service provided by Help Wrong Fuel. We drain, flush and restart contaminated vehicles of all types. We can get your vehicle started again if you have misfuelled it even if you have driven it until it won’t start. The important thing to do is to remove the petrol from the diesel system as quickly as possible with the minimalist amount of disruption. Luckily, we have specialist drain equipment for the exact purpose of draining contaminated fuel. The next thing to do will be to flush the system with clean diesel fuel. We pull clean diesel through the fuel system, including through the filter head and injectors. Lastly, we advise a full TEC4 fuel system clean additive which replaces the lubrication stripped by the petrol and breaks down any carbon that the petrol may have been dislodged by the solvent.

To ensure you have totally removed any contaminated fuel, and to protect your vehicle from future issues, we advise a full EDT Engine detox service. We are the ONLY company in South Wales who are able to offer this service. The process involves draining your oil, then pumping pre-heated refined oil around the oil system at high pressure. This will remove all the carbon from the moving parts of your engine, freeing up all hydraulic oil filled components allowing your vehicle to run smoother and efficiently as when it was first left the production line.

If you have put the wrong fuel in your vehicle, we offer FREE advice 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We are fully compliant and approved by The AA, The RAC and Trading Standards. We have full workshop and EDT facilities. Call us on 0333 666 8685 (FREE from your mobile or landline)



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