Just picture the scene. It’s a rainy and cold night as you drive down a country road. Not but half an hour ago, you were filling up the car and treating yourself to a can of coke and a chocolate bar for the drive. The weather is awful, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the car starts making noises and jutting.
Could it be that there’s a ghost in the engine? Or is something hair-raising under the bonnet? In all likelihood, no! Still, you might have just made a simple mistake that happens to more people than you think – you’ve put the wrong fuel in the car when filling up.
How can you avoid a horror show if you ever make the grave mistake of filling the car up incorrectly? Well, The AA has you covered.
The fright of those scary engine sounds
Like a bump in the night scaring you awake, a motor that starts acting mysteriously, hiccupping, or making knocking sounds can be frightening, especially if you’re driving on a busy road. Before a wash of embarrassment comes over you, it’s the most likely sign that you’ve misfuelled.
The not-so-spine-chilling reason engines make noise
And if your engine isn’t making that much noise, don’t be fooled into thinking everything is ok. Many modern cars have knock protection to reduce the sound. Diesel pumps at the station also tend to have a slightly thicker nozzle and shouldn’t be able to be fully inserted in a petrol car – although a lot of misfuelling happens in older cars that don’t have a thing fuel neck.
Other ways a car can scream it is misfuelled
It isn’t just a noisy engine that will let you know. You would also want to look out for the following, depending on the misfuel scenario type:
Diesel in a Petrol Engine
- The car starts to misfire
- The car won’t start
- If you’ve only been driving for 10-15 minutes, stop the car and then it won’t re-start
Petrol in a Diesel Engine:
- The car becomes jumpy when you’re accelerating
- The engine misfires
- The exhaust bellows smoke (when it usually wouldn’t)
And if you were ever curious about which is worse, petrol getting in a diesel engine can do more damage than the other way around, as diesel has a higher flash point.
The eerie notion you’ll be stranded
If you hear those noises, pull over to the side of the road or the nearest safe location, making sure that if you are on the side of the road & hazard lights are on. Even if it is a chilly one, you don’t want to turn the ignition back on. Newer cars will have low-pressure electric pumps that kick in once you turn the key, something you don’t want to avoid any more fuel getting through.
With AA membership providing 24/7 coverage across the country, you don’t have to worry about being stranded for a long time. For existing AA members reading this in the Dublin area who may be stuck after a misfuel, Call the AA Fuel Assist Team on 0818 66 77 88 right now for help.
The mystery of not knowing how much it costs to drain & fix
When the unfortunate occurs, you don’t want to be frightened by costs. Just know that you are typically going to pay for two things:
1. A complete drain to get the wrong fuel out
2. New parts if there are signs of damage
Thankfully, AA Fuel assist can help with the former, as our team can help drain, flush, and refill your vehicle’s fuel system. If you’re misfuelled, AA car insurance may also cover you up to €500, compared to other policies which don’t (comparison data available here).
As long as you follow the advice above, act smart, and never turn the car back on once you realise the problem, it will save you money.
Be safe on the roads this Halloween!
For anyone who will be driving around a good bit this month or trick or treating on those darker evenings, we highly recommend reading our article on keeping safe this Halloween. A quick read is a great reminder of the easy ways to be safe out there.