What You Need to Know About Filling a Diesel Engine with Gasoline

May 27, 2020

Putting something on the engine that doesn’t belong there will probably deal with unlikeable damage.

Not every part of your vehicle is as delicate as glass. But then again, you best be careful with the parts that need to be treated with care.

Performance parts, in particular, do a lot of work every time you use your car. Though a lot of these performance parts are made to be durable, that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible.

That’s why you still need to perform inspections and maintenance procedures every now and then. One of the most delicate parts of a typical vehicle is usually the engine. But have you ever wondered what would happen if gasoline would be filled into a diesel engine?

petrol pumps

But have you ever wondered what would happen if gasoline would be filled into a diesel engine?

A lot of the maintenance procedures that need to be taken seriously are in one way or another, connected to the engine. This is because the engine is the heart of the vehicle. So if you’ve put something in the engine that doesn’t belong there, you may have to deal with unlikeable effects.

But what outcome can you really expect if this happens? Will you need a new engine? Will you have to pay for a major repair? Or will everything be alright with all that gas in your diesel tank? Find out in this article from Philcarnews.com.

Diesel and gasoline engines: What is the difference?

There are a lot of peculiar differences between gasoline and diesel engines. But the most identifiable one is the way that the explosions happen. In a typical gas engine, air is mixed with fuel.

This is then compressed by the pistons. Then, it is ignited by the sparks from the spark plug. In diesel engines, air is first compressed. After that, the fuel is then injected.

gasoline and diesel

There are a lot of peculiar differences between gasoline and diesel engines

A lot of gasoline stations make use of different nozzles for pumping gasoline and diesel. More times than often, a diesel’s pump nozzle is larger in diameter than the nozzle in gas pumps. A lot of the current gasoline-engine vehicles usually won’t allow a large diesel nozzle to fit in the filler.

But since gasoline nozzles are smaller, they can easily fit into a diesel engine’s filler - even by accident. The event of accidentally putting the wrong oil in your engine is a minor problem. But having the wrong type of fuel is a whole new matter that can be worse.

How? Take a look here:

>>> Related: 7 common car maintenance myths you might wonder one day

What happens if you fill a gas tank with diesel

If you happen to notice the problem early enough, there would be enough time for you to prevent serious problems. But if you still kept driving even with the wrong fuel in your tank, then you may as well experience the following problems:

1. No ignition

Diesel engines were never meant to ignite fuel. Gasoline, on the other hand, is designed to NOT ignite automatically. It will need to be ignited by a spark plug.

Therefore, if gasoline gets inside a diesel engine, ignition will not happen. If ignition does take place since gas is already mixed with diesel, the result may be too much. In fact, the result can be so severe that the engine may not be able to handle it.

Driver starting the engine.

If gasoline gets inside a diesel engine, ignition will not happen

2. Damage to the fuel system

The properties of gasoline will definitely affect the many parts of your diesel engine. These parts can include the fuel filter, the fuel pump, and the fuel injectors.

All these make up your diesel engine’s fuel system. They are all vital in keeping your car in good running condition. If these components fail to work properly, you will have to end up replacing the entire fuel system.

Engine components

The properties of gasoline will definitely affect the many parts of your diesel engine

3. Damage to the engine

If you detected the problem in its early state, you can save your engine before irreversible damage. But the longer you drive your car with gas in the engine, the higher the chance for it to be destroyed. That may lead you to have to replace the entire engine which is super expensive.

Engine components

The longer you drive your car with gas in the engine, the higher the chance for it to be destroyed

 4. No lubrication

Though not a lot of people know it, diesel works in some ways similar to oil. This is because it lubricates the engine’s components as it powers up your vehicle for motion. Keep in mind that gasoline is a solvent.

If you top off your diesel engine with gasoline, it won’t lubricate the parts that need lubrication. The result is that the metal parts will end up rubbing against each other. This will cause permanent damage that will only be cured by replacement.

5. Shock wave damage

There are tons of components in a diesel engine. These can be wrist pins, rods, and pistons. If there happens to be any uncontrollable detonation, its shock waves could damage the engine’s components. Gasoline is sure to cause detonation that diesel engines weren’t made to handle.

>>> Related: FAQs about Car's Fuel and Air Filters

 6. Black smoke

The minimum required temperature to ignite diesel is at 52 degrees Celsius. Gasoline, on the other hand, can be ignited at negative 43 degrees Celsius. This is also called the flashpoint.

Gasoline is going to have a harder time being ignited in diesel engines where it shouldn’t be. This means there would be a lot of unburned fuel.

This will come out as huge amounts of black colored smoke. This is sure to come out of the exhaust pipe. The smoke itself already looks and smells horrible. But this can also mean that the different sensors and parts in the fuel system will get clogged up. This is because of the soot from the smoke.

black smoke

The smoke itself already looks and smells horrible

What you should and shouldn’t do

If you realize early that the wrong fuel was dispensed in your diesel engine, do not panic. There are still a few things you can do to prevent more damage to your precious diesel engine. We listed down five tips that are sure to help you out in this tight situation.

>>> Related: How deep is your knowledge of car engine?

  1. Do not start the engine. Leave your vehicle where it is or push it to a safe place without starting the engine.
  2. Do not turn the ignition on. If you do, the system will trigger the fuel injectors and fuel pump to get ready for work.
  3. If you already started the car and drove around, pull over and call a towing service.
  4. Have the towing service take your car to a mechanic you trust.
  5. From the automotive shop, the fuel tank will have to be drained and flushed.
Source: Hanna Miel Sanchez