Filling your vehicle up with fuel – it’s a mundane task which we all encounter almost on autopilot. However, without the right level of attention, you may risk filling up your tank with the wrong fuel type. In fact, you’d be surprised at how common this is (over 15,000 brits annually!). So, what do you do once you have filled your petrol tank up with diesel?

There are two series of steps to follow, depending on if you ignition has been switched on since the fill up, or not.

Is your ignition still off?

If you have recognised the fuel mistake before switching your ignition on, its likely you will find yourself with a safer fix. Here are the steps you should follow to remain safe:

  1. Leave your ignition switched off and make sure that your gear is in neutral. You can do this whilst the engine is off if you need to. Stay out of your car with the keys with you and away from the ignition.
  2. At this point, you will still be within the grounds of the fuel station. Alert a member of staff and inform them of your situation. They may be able to help you with pushing your car to a safe place, away from moving traffic and petrol pumps.
  3. Once your vehicle is in a safe place, you should call your insurance provider or local MOT garage. They should be able to visit you on a call-out to drain, assess and re-fill your tank, allowing you to get back onto the road safely.

Has your ignition been switched on?

If your ignition has been switched on since the fill up, it’s probable that you may not be aware of the error. There are two tell-tale signs that may alert you of this:

  • Your engine may fail to turn over or, if it does, it may only run for a short burst before coming to a harsh stop and failing to restart.
  • Your car could emit darker smoke from the exhaust which may be visible in your rear-view mirror.

The steps you should take if your ignition has been switched on are:

  1. Pull over as soon as possible into the nearest safe place, switch the ignition off and ensure that the gear is left in neutral. You can do this whilst the car is switched off if you need to.
  2. Exit the vehicle, and stand away from the roadside and passing traffic, as well as the perimeters of your car, ensuring that you remain safe whilst waiting for assistance.
  3. Contact your insurance company as soon as you find yourself in a safe place. They can then provide you with call-out roadside assistance, draining your tank before flushing it through and observing for any resulting damage. Your car will then be refilled with the correct fuel.

At RKH Service and Repair, our family-run team are on hand to provide specialist advice and services to drivers of all vehicles, from 2-wheeled to 4-wheeled. Give us a call on 01233 877797 or email us at to see how we could help you.