What Happens If I Put the Wrong Gas In My Car?

To answer this question, it depends on the scenario and the kind of mix-up that occurred. Even if the situation isn't considered dangerous if done once, you should never put the wrong type of gas in your car intentionally or more than once. Below are four possible fuel mix-up scenarios:

Putting 87 Octane Instead of 93 Octane Gasoline

Octane numbers can be confusing for some drivers, but it is just the rating of the fuel's ability to withstand compression. Some people opt for 87 octane gas because it is cheaper. Using different octane will not cause intense damage, but things can be complex if you use a lower-than-recommended octane. Depending on the make/model and your engine design, a lower octane might not strike immediate damage, but continuing to do so could cause engine knocking. 

Putting 93 Octane or Higher than Recommended Octane Gasoline

Of the four different scenarios, this is the least harmful. A higher octane level will not hurt your engine, but it also won't benefit it either. A common myth people believe is that premium gas can enhance your engine performance; however, that is not the case. You are potentially just be wasting money.

Putting Gasoline in Diesel Engine

Putting gasoline rather than diesel is one of the worst fuel mix-ups you can possibly make. The damage can start as soon as you turn on your vehicle. If you make this mistake, you must stop driving and call for a tow right away. 

Putting Diesel in Gasoline Engine

In contrast, addingdiesel to a gasoline-powered vehicle is not as fatal. You might notice more exhaust smoke, and the car will just burn it until it stops. Then, you can get the necessary repairs.

What To Do When You Mix Up Your Fuel

While some of the above scenarios are driveable, like mixing premium and regular octane gas, putting gasoline in diesel can be fatal. Here's what you should do as soon as you've made a mistake:

  • Quit filling the tank right away
  • Do NOT turn on the car and detach the battery if possible
  • Put it in neutral or push it to a safe place and call for a tow
  • Bring it to the professionals at Space Center Automotive, so we can drain the tank and flush the entire system

For all your automotive maintenance and repairs, please do not hesitate to give our Houston auto repair shop a call or visit!