Wrong fuel in your car?

Our RACQ Fuel Assist team are roadside specialists and offer the only mobile fuel draining service in Queensland. When you’ve pumped the wrong fuel remember to stop your car immediately and call us:

RACQ Fuel Assist 

We'll get you back on the road without towing or costly engine repairs.

1800 946 677

Petrol in diesel car

This is very common and depending on the vehicle, potentially the costliest to rectify.

If you’ve put petrol in a diesel vehicle, don’t even turn the key, as this can cause the petrol to be circulated through the fuel system, even without starting the engine.

  • Older style diesel engines may tolerate a small amount of petrol, but it is definitely not recommended. 
  • Newer Common Rail diesel fuel systems are less tolerant and any level of petrol risks damage.

The extent of the work required to rectify petrol in a diesel vehicle needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

  • In the worst case, expect a bill for several thousand dollars. Costs will depend on the extent of the damage. 
  • The best, where the fuel has been put in the tank but the engine wasn’t started, will involve draining the system and adding the correct fuel.

Diesel in petrol car


  • The engine often won’t run or won’t run well. 
  • Pinging/knocking, exhaust smoke, loss of power and oil dilution.
  • Extensive engine damage could result from prolonged running.

Rectification is dependent on the extent of damage, but usually only involves draining the fuel, flushing the system, changing the fuel filter and refilling with petrol. 

Incorrect petrol used in car

Using a high-octane fuel in a vehicle that only requires normal ULP will at worst hurt your pocket. But using ULP in a vehicle specified for a high-octane fuel may damage the engine.

  • Check the required fuel specification in the owner’s handbook. 
  • Some vehicles specified for high-octane fuels will operate satisfactorily on ULP, with reduced power and economy. 
  • Others risk extensive engine damage so it’s important to read the recommendations carefully.

Rectification is dependent on the extent of damage, but in most cases the only action needed will be to drain the tank and add the correct fuel.

Remember to call RACQ Fuel Assist if you experience any petrol or diesel fuelling mistake. We can drain the incorrect fuel and avoid expensive towing and engine repairs.

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