What Happens When You Put Diesel In Your Gasoline-Powered Car By Mistake?

You'll want to avoid it, but it won't be the end of the world

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For those not living in New Jersey, pumping your own gas is a reality that you must accept whether you like it or not - but as millions of people perform this mundane act every single day, there are bound to be at least a few screw-ups. So what really happens when you mistakenly pour diesel into your gas-powered car’s tank?

I admit, I’ve always been risk averse and a measure twice-cut once kind of guy. But I’m infallible, as we all are, and have on occasion mistakenly pumped regular gasoline when it should’ve been premium, but thousands per year make the same mistake, replacing regular with diesel and vice versa.

What happens then? Well, most shops would tell you that you need to replace expensive components in your fuel system at considerable cost because of the potential damage inflicted on the engine. We haven’t really gotten a definitive answer, until now.


Fifth Gear, also known as Top Gear Lite, has made a video outlining what exactly happens when you stick the wrong kind of fuel in your car. Turns out it ain’t so bad after all — you're just probably not going to want to do it regularly.

I’d still probably flush my fuel tank, but it’s good to know that it’s not the end of the world if I run my car off the Devil’s brew. It's still probably a good thing to be cautious and, y'know, avoid filling your tank with the wrong fuel.


How many of you have had this happen to you?

This story was originally published on December 31, 2015

Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. You can also follow him on Twitterand Facebook. He won’t mind.