What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car?

When you see yourself in a position where you mistakenly filled your gasoline vehicle with Diesel in a fuel station, and you may have a lot of gallons in there already. Your first question will be, “What happens if you put Diesel in a gas car?”

This article will be able to answer this question; you will also learn about the possible solutions to this mistake and its consequences.

The amount that successfully passes through the filter to your engine will block the gasoline injectors, rendering them inoperable. All of this will lead to the seizing and gumming up of the engine.

After filling the tank with Diesel, your gasoline engine may only run for a while, but this is because there is a little gasoline on the fuel line, which runs on that.

This situation can be so bad, but doing the opposite (that is, filling gasoline in a diesel vehicle) is far worse. Due to the high combustion properties of gasoline, there are higher chances of ignition than Diesel.

This rapid volatility and ignition can lead to a catastrophic deterioration of the components and engine of a diesel vehicle, hence you should get to know the color of diesel fuel to avoid this..

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How Do You Fix an Error of Putting Diesel in Your Gas Car?

What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car

You must take immediate action when discovering you filled your gasoline vehicle with Diesel. It is not advisable to leave diesel fuel in a gasoline tank for a long time. Finally, do not ignite the car, no matter the circumstance.

Towing the vehicle to the nearest workshop will be a better option so that the Diesel can be drained immediately. Any attempt to run the vehicle will lead to the Diesel going into the fuel line, then the engine system leading to a more costly and complicated repair process.

An ideal condition will be when your car has a detachable drain on the gasoline tank. Your mechanic will only unlock the drain and vacate the whole diesel/gasoline mixture.

You will fill the tank with gas and drain it again to get rid of the remaining Diesel. You may have to repeat the process more than once to completely clear the contaminated tank.

If your gasoline tank has no detachable drain, you may have to remove the tank from the car and drain it. This process is known as “dropping the tank.” Your mechanic will have to repeatedly rinse the gas tank with new gasoline until the whole Diesel is completely emptied.

You will spend about 200 to 500 dollars to drain the tank, depending on whether the tank has to be detached and the amount of diesel present. If the Diesel has gone into the engine or fuel line, then the cost of repair will be around 1,500 to 2,000 dollars.

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Why Gasoline Is Different From Diesel Fuel

Density remains the biggest dissimilarity between Diesel and gasoline. Diesel is denser than gas fuel. As a result, gasoline has a paint-thinner odor and is thin, whereas Diesel has a strong kerosene smell.

You can tell the kind of fuel you have in a container by a quick slosh or sniff. The main reason gasoline differs from Diesel is how the vehicle takes in the fuel for its operation.

The Difference Between Diesel and Gasoline Engines

What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car

1. Combustion in Gasoline engines

With recent engines that are gasoline driven, the amount of fuel introduced during injection occurs momentarily before the opening of the intake valve to allow the flow of air into the cylinder.

There is a mixture of the fuel and air when there is an upward movement of the piston (compression stroke), which helps heat the fuel/air mixture, making the mixture easy to ignite.

The ignition components produce a spark through the spark plug during an important point of the compression stroke, and this acts as a source of heat to kindle the fuel/air mixture.

However, because of the design of both gasoline combustion chambers and their characteristics, the procedure begins at the spark plug tip. It then progresses outward through the fuel/air mixture from that point.

In a gasoline engine that is fully functional in closed-loop operation, the fuel found in the fuel/air mixture is combusted with all the air available in the cylinder, and this is different In diesel vehicles.

2. Combustion in Diesel Engines

Although diesel injection engines also exhibit fuel vaporization during injection events, the diesel and gasoline engines are not throttled equally.

This means that the level of fuel combustion does not depend on the fuel and air fixed ratio mixture. In most operating situations, the Diesel to air ratio could be as high as 60 portions of air to 1 portion of the fuel.

Meanwhile, in a gasoline-powered engine, the air to fuel ratio is 14.7 portion of air to 1 portion of the fuel.

Because the ignition point of diesel fuel is significantly lower than gasoline, you will not need any source of heat to kindle the fuel mixture/compressed air in diesel engines.

However, in a diesel engine, the piston’s upward movement on its compression strokes heats the fuel/air mixture adiabatically*until it is very hot for spontaneous ignition. This results in simultaneous ignition through the fuel/air mixture at different points.

* This implies that the compression stroke produces enough pressure that heats the fuel/air mixture.

However, due to the inability to start and maintain the combustion operation, in a cold diesel engine, these engines are now installed with heating devices called “glow plugs” that are electronically controlled to heat the fuel/air mixture during a cold startup.

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What Are the Effects of Putting Diesel Into a Gasoline Engine

What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car

As earlier stated, whether your gasoline car will drive with diesel fuel depends totally on the Diesel’s quantity in the gas. Most of the effects you will notice are:

1. The Vehicle May Be Hard To Start

The viscosity of your fuel will increase when Diesel is added, which makes the fuel thicker, leading to the inability of the fuel and the air intake to create a uniform mixture due to insufficient vaporization.

As a result, the tainted fuel will either break into large droplets that can’t sustain combustion (that’s if it ignites) or stay concentrated in one jet.

2. The Vehicle Will Smoke Heavily

The compression pressure required to ignite diesel fuel is exceptionally high. This means that diesel engines that lack enough cylinder compression pressure to combust or ignite fuel will result in clouds of black or white smoke gushing out from the exhaust pipes.

Because engines cannot generate enough compression pressure to ignite the Diesel, most of it may, however, combust because of gasoline combusting. When this happens, neither the Diesel nor the gas in the fuel tank will combust fully, producing thick smoke.

3. The Engine Will Lose Power

The level of fuel combustion in an engine determines the engine’s power output. Therefore, if the gasoline combustibility is reduced by introducing Diesel into the gas, it will result in power loss and poor combustion.

On the other hand, if the engine can run, it will lead to significantly higher fuel consumption, misfires, and poor idling.

4. Catalytic Converters May Fail

The catalytic converter in a gasoline-powered car is designed to handle a limited quantity of unburned hydrocarbons without experiencing any negative effects.

Therefore a Diesel contaminated gasoline could increase the amount of unburned hydrocarbon in the exhaust pipe, leading to a clogged catalytic converter.

The diesel concentration in the gas fuel determines how rapidly this happens. However, if the catalytic converter gets clogged, the backpressure of the exhaust could rise above the vehicle’s maximum threshold.

This circumstance will lead to reduced performance from the engine, as well as cause overheating.

Also Read: Car Gas Tank Leak Repair Cost

Frequently Asked Questions – What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car?

Can I still drive my car with Diesel instead of gasoline?

You cannot drive a gasoline engine with a diesel and vice versa.

What do I do if I put Diesel in my car instead of gasoline?

Do not panic. And always remember not to ignite your vehicle because when your engine turns over, the fuel pump will draw the Diesel into the engine leading to the clog up of your gas system and also causing damage to your engine moving parts.

How do I differentiate a gasoline pump from a diesel? 

You will see an inscription that states, “this is a diesel pump,” and the handle color. The handles of a diesel pump are mostly green, while black goes for gasoline, and some cards are attached on top for octane rating. There is also a difference in the diesel and gasoline nozzle diameter. The diesel pump nozzle is larger than that of gasoline. Therefore, you will find it difficult if you try inserting a diesel pump nozzle in your gasoline-driven vehicle.

Can I differentiate between gasoline and Diesel through smell?

Very well. You can differentiate gasoline and Diesel by their smell because gasoline has a paint-thinner odor and is thin, whereas Diesel has a strong kerosene smell. You can tell the kind of fuel you have in a container by a quick slosh or sniff. The main reason gasoline differs from Diesel is how the vehicle depletes the fuel for its operation.

Conclusion – What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car?

What happens if you put diesel in a gas car? this question will remain hypothetical for many gasoline car owners. However, if the event eventually occurs, a rapid corrective measure has to be taken to prevent further damage from happening to expensive exhaust and fuel systems.

Adding more gas to cancel the effect of the Diesel or attempting to drain the diesel fuel by running the tank dry will not be the best thing to do.

The first option will cause the contaminated gas to be distributed around the gasoline system, which will, in turn, immobilize the car and cause damage to the fuel injectors, and fuel pump while also creating clogs in the gas filters.

The second option of driving the tank until it gets dried will destroy your fuel pump and immobilize your car.

The best thing to do when you mistakenly pump Diesel into your gasoline vehicle will be to consult an expert for professional advice on how to get rid of the diesel traces.

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