What to do if you use the wrong fuel while renting a van with a diesel tank

We’ve all experienced this kind of panic. When it comes to filling up your vehicle with fuel, the age-old dilemma of which nozzle to use “unleaded or diesel?” emerges. While this is a concerning last-minute notion while filling up your vehicle, the terror and confusion increase when driving a rental vehicle that you are unfamiliar with. If you mistakenly put petrol in a diesel car or put diesel in a petrol car it is far from ideal but it can be resolved.  In the unlikely but possible event that you fill your vehicle with the wrong fuel, you must follow a series of simple instructions to protect the safety of both yourself and the vehicle.

The most important thing to do at first is to keep the ignition turned off to avoid serious damage to the engine or injectors after misfuelling. However, because many drivers may not notice they accidentally put the incorrect fuel in to the tank until they begin to drive away from the forecourt, this is not always avoidable. As a result, there are two options to follow if you fill your vehicle with the wrong fuel.

When you put the wrong fuel in your car and Ignition Switched is Off 

Keeping your vehicle turned off puts you in the best possible position in this case. Keep your keys away from the ignition to avoid accidentally starting the engine while performing the next steps:

Step 1: Inform the fuel station about the misfuelling incident. They must be aware of your situation, especially if misfuelling occurs, and they may be able to assist with step 3.

Step 2: You should check that your vehicle is in neutral. If you have left it sitting in any other gear, it is important to shift to neutral whilst your vehicle remains switched off, and your keys are kept away from the ignition.

Step 3: Push your vehicle safely to a nearby spot away from the fuel pumps and moving traffic, assisted by petrol station staff, a passenger from your vehicle, or another driver.

Step 4: You should now lock your vehicle and walk away. You should then contact your car insurance company or the rental van company. They will then be able to advise you on the next actions to take to safely drain your fuel tank and protect your fuel system.

When you put petrol into a diesel tank and then start the engine

If you’ve put the wrong fuel in the tank it is preferable that you don’t start the engine to minimise the risk of severe damage.  However this is not always possible, especially if the wrong fuel has been put into the diesel tank and you have only realised you didn’t use the right fuel until you are already back on the road.

Step 1: We advise that you stop as soon as possible as soon as you notice the fuel mistake. Retaliation may occur when you observe your vehicle coming to a halt, or even before it begins to make any signals of a compromised fuel system. Whether you are on the forecourt or the road nearby, prioritise the health of your vehicle and yourself by turning off the engine as soon as possible if you’ve put petrol into a diesel tank. Remove the key from the ignition and leave the vehicle to prevent damage to the entire fuel system.

Step 2: If your vehicle is switched off and in a potentially dangerous place, such as across a junction or in the direction of moving traffic, you should ask a passenger, pedestrian, or other motorist to help you push the car to a safer spot. Make sure the vehicle is in neutral and switched off throughout this action.

Step 3: Call your insurance company or rental company to inform them of the problem. They will collaborate with you to give the necessary help.

Misfuelling covered by insurance

In any case, if you have used the petrol pump when it should have been the diesel fuel nozzle, a call to the relevant insurance company can result in a call for breakdown assistance for a fuel tank repair. An experienced technician will be able to drain the incorrectly inserted fuel from the tank using specialist tools before performing a ‘flush through’ to clean the tank, ensuring that all traces of the damaging fuel are eliminated. Your tank will then be filled with the correct fuel to ensure that everything works properly before you can return to the road.

Easihire offers a selection of diesel-powered vans for rental. If you would like to rent a car or have any concerns about our diesel engines, please contact us! We are here and happy to assist. Please contact us today.