When it comes to filling up the tank, the price can be a significant influencer. Then there’s human error.  Either way, using the wrong gas can end up being an expensive mistake. Here’s what could happen if you put the wrong fuel in your car.

Regular Gas in a Plus or Premium Tank

Some car manufacturers require the use of premium gas, while others only recommend it. Using regular unleaded gas in a premium tank might void your vehicle warranty if the engine is damaged so it’s important to read the manual.

For cars that recommend using premium gas, using regular unleaded gas in a plus or premium tank comes down to preference. You may hear rattling and notice a decrease in fuel economy or reduced performance, but your car most likely won’t experience lasting engine damage. To rectify these problems, switch back to plus or premium gas the next time you top off or fill the tank.

Plus, or Premium in a Regular Gas Tank

This also comes down to preference; however, as always, it’s best to follow the owner’s manual recommendations for the type of gas to use. Nothing’s likely to happen to the car if you use plus or premium gas instead of regular, but you won’t see any benefits either.

Gas in a Diesel Engine Tank

You should not use regular gas in a disel engine tank. However, it can happen by mistake. If this happens, call for a tow right away, have a professional auto care shop drain the tank, and inspect the affected parts. Diesel acts as a necessary lubricant for the fuel system. Thinner gas can cause wear and tear on the filter, fuel pump, and injectors.

Diesel in a Gas Engine Tank

While this is a difficult mistake to make – it’s not impossible. Diesel pumps have larger nozzles that typically don’t fit into a gas tank’s opening and are usually a different color. Gas engines can’t combust diesel, so if you make this mistake, your car might not start. If it does start, it will almost certainly smoke. It probably won’t damage the engine, but you’ll need to have the car towed, and the tank drained.

Ethanol E85

You’ll find that Ethanol is clearly labeled at the pumps, however grabbing the wrong gas nozzle has been known to happen. If the car isn’t a “Flexible Fuel” vehicle, using Ethanol E85 can cause the “check engine” light to flicker, a problem that can end up voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. The good news is that using Ethanol E85 by mistake probably won’t permanently damage your car. Just keep topping off the tank with regular gasoline, and your car should get back to normal over time.

How to Prevent Putting the Wrong Gas in Your Car

First, know your car. For gas cars, the best rule of thumb is to refer to the owner’s manual, confirm the minimum octane rating for your vehicle, and make sure that the fuel you use equals or is greater than that number. Cars that call for premium gas may also specify the octane rating on the gas cap or recommend a fuel. Bottom line pay attention before you pump and eliminate distractions. Take the time to review each button and nozzle choice to make sure you use the right gas.

If you’ve put the wrong gas in your car, contact us immediately to reduce further damage.

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