8 common myths about putting the wrong fuel in your vehicle

Putting the wrong fuel in your vehicle is a common mistake. Most people have either done it, or know of some poor sod who has.

And it turns out, much of what we think we know about it is totally wrong.

For the purposes of education, we’ve compiled 8 common myths about putting the wrong fuel in your vehicle .

Some are sexist, some are expensive misunderstandings, and one or two are dangerous.

They’re all total bunk.

1. Petrol sits on top of diesel or vice versa so it’s still okay to drive my vehicle.

Unlike Oil and water, Petrol and diesel DO mix together and DO NOT separate. This creates a cocktail of fuel known in the fuel industry as a shandy. Driving your car with any amount of the incorrect fuel can harm your engine.

2. My insurance will cover me.

Over 90% of Australian insurance companies do NOT include mis-fueling as part of their cover. Typical repair costs range anywhere from $400 right up to in excess of $40,000 for certain makes and models. Check your insurance PDS to see if it is included to prevent any nasty surprises. Those lucky enough to have insurance that covers mis-fueling, be sure to check your excess as most excesses can end up actually costing you more than just using our services direct.

3. Women are more prone to misfuel.

Wrong, our stats show that it is men who are the worst offenders taking a strong lead at 68%.

4. I’ve driven my car with the wrong fuel and broken down, my engine is stuffed!

Driving with the incorrect fuel can damage your engine but most engines are quite resilient. Once you identify you have mis-fueled and have driven the vehicle the best thing to do is turn the engine off. Next you will need to organise to have the fuel extracted and the fuel system flushed. Once the engine is going again any apparent issues can be dealt with. The majority of vehicles we attend, present with no further issues. The service life of the engine may have been reduced but, only a touch.

5. My car now needs new filters and a service!

Your car does not need new filters or a service. The filter medium used for petrol and diesel filters is generally the same. They are both designed to remove moisture, sludge and other larger particles like scale and rust. Therefore petrol and diesel alike can both pass through the filter, leaving the filter intact and undamaged.

If you haven’t started the vehicle the likelyhood of the incorrect fuel reaching the filter is low. As for the service, unless your vehicle is due for service there will be no need to service the vehicle after a mis-fuel, as putting the wrong fuel in your vehicle doesn’t do any damage that would warrant a service.

6. I lose my warranty if I don`t take my car to the dealership!

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says “a manufacturer’s warranty is a promise to the consumer that the vehicle will be free from defects for a certain period of time”.

While a manufacturer can have certain requirements in its warranty terms – such as ensuring any servicing is carried out by qualified staff, according to the manufacturer’s specification, and that appropriate quality parts are used where required – it can’t require you to service your vehicle through an authorised dealer to keep your warranty intact.

7. I can drain it myself or i have a mate who will do it!

The modern day vehicle has no drain plug on the fuel tank, fuel tanks are usually plastic and have complicated arrangements which make it difficult to access the fuel for extraction.

If you do not remove all of the fuel from the vehicle you will still be at risk of danger to the fuel system and engine. Extracting the fuel yourself is dangerous and can be ineffective if you don’t remove all of the fuel.

Disposing of the fuel legally can be difficult and costly. It is illegal to pour the fuel down the drain and should not be stored as it is a hazardous waste.

8. If i keep the fuel I can use it in another car!

Adding this fuel to another vehicle will probably cause the same issue for that vehicle. We wouldn’t recommend it. If you want a souvenir take a selfie.