We have written about this problem before. What should you do if you put the wrong fuel in your car, say diesel instead of petrol, by mistake?
It has happened to many people – and a politician is the latest victim!
Volvo launched their flagship SUV, the XC90 Hybrid last year. Called as the T8 variant, this XC90 is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine along with the plug-in hybrid system. Together the massive SUV gets a total power of 407 BHP and earth moving torque of 640 Nm. The MLA from Karnataka, Mohiudeen Bava, reportedly became the first owner of this variant in India.
An oblivious fuel station attendant filled the XC90 hybrid with diesel fuel instead of petrol, because he assumed such large SUVs are generally powered by diesel!
The SUV was taken to the fuel pump by the son of Bava, who had given clear instructions to fill petrol in the vehicle. Later, he realised that the attendant filled diesel instead. The wrong fuel forced Bava to send the vehicle back to the service centre.
Here is what Mohiudeen Bava said about the incident.
“As I was in Bengaluru for the Assembly session, my son had taken the new car to the fuel station. Though my son had instructed him (the attendant) clearly to fill petrol, when my son went to pay, he found that the staff had filled diesel.”
Bava handled the situation very maturely and said that such errors are bound to happen, and it is a common human nature. The vehicle is currently in the Volvo service centre, and the system is being cleaned.
What to do in such situation?
Anyone can face similar situations where the wrong fuel can be filled in a hurry. Modern engines are very sensitive and wrong fuel can damage the fuel system and the engine of the vehicle. However, if you can discover the wrong fuel sooner, there are chances to reduce the damages.
Signs of diesel filled in a petrol car
If you have not checked the bill or the fuel pump, here is how you can predict if the car is running on wrong fuel. Diesel is thicker than petrol. If a petrol car receives diesel instead of petrol, the fuel filter will clog up quickly, and the car will feel jerks and stall. If the diesel manages to reach the spark plug, there will be a lot of white smoke coming out of the exhaust before your car stalls.
Signs of petrol filled in a diesel car
Diesel engines are much more complicated than the petrol ones, and filling petrol can cause a catastrophic for the engine. Diesel engines do not show the signs of wrong fuel easily. It takes a while before the exhaust starts emitting thick black smoke due to unburnt fuel. Finally, the vehicle becomes very sluggish and stalls and then it does not start at all.
How to correct the mistake?
As soon as you realise that there is wrong fuel in the tank, do not try to start / run the car at all. Call a mechanic who can drain the wrong fuel from the tank. The remaining wrong fuel can be removed through the main fuel line. If the fuel has reached the engine, you will have to make sure that the remaining fuel is also cleared. For that, you will have to crank the motor, it would not start, but it will throw out the wrong fuel from the engine. Now, you will need to wash up the fuel line by filling the tank with correct fuel and then connect the main fuel line. Finally, filling the tank with correct fuel and adding additives will clean the injectors in the diesel engine.
In the petrol engine, parts like fuel filter and spark plugs will need to be changed. In diesel vehicles, the drain plug at the bottom of the filter will drain out any remaining fuel from the engine compartment.