“I Filled My Car with Diesel Instead of Gas”: Using Auto Technician Training to Save the Day

mechanic program

There’s a reason why diesel pumps are a different size than gasoline ones: mixing them up isn’t a mistake any driver wants to make! By accidentally pumping diesel into a gasoline-powered engine, a driver will have set a chain of events in motion that can potentially end with crippling engine damage. However, by taking prompt action, damage can be limited or even fully avoided.

Here’s how some well-applied automotive knowledge can quickly deal with this problem, and promptly get the affected vehicle back on the road again.

The Best Immediate Course of Action According to Grads of Mechanic Programs

Pumping diesel into a gasoline car is a serious error, but caught early enough, it can be fully negated. Sometimes, the driver may become aware of the size incompatibility of the diesel pump during the pumping process, with diesel pumps being marginally larger than gasoline pumps in order to discourage accidental pumping. If diesel of any quantity has entered the vehicle, graduates of a mechanic program know the safest course of action to take is to simply not start the engine, and call for a tow to a local mechanic.

As soon as the fuel mistake has been noticed, drivers should take prompt action
As soon as the fuel mistake has been noticed, drivers should take prompt action

If a vehicle has been driven to some extent with diesel in the tank, it should be pulled over at the first safe opportunity, and not re-started. The temptation for many drivers is to complete their current journey, or even to start the engine to drive the vehicle out of the way of the service station pumps. Doing so runs the risk of introducing diesel to the vehicle’s engine, and could escalate any engine issues substantially. This makes a tow from the car’s parked location the safest solution.

Why the Mix-Up Produces Such Problems

Any professional who has undergone auto technician training knows that while both possess a strong odor and liquid appearance, the chemical properties of gasoline and diesel are strikingly different. These include a different compression ratio and contrast in how much air each needs for ideal combustion. The introduction of diesel into a gas engine will usually produce a misfire or uncharacteristic engine sound as a result.

Misfiring within the engine can cause damage to engine components such as cylinder heads, ultimately resulting in structural faults that cause the engine to lose compression and the ability to run. Should diesel be fed through an engine for a prolonged period of time, it can also result in issues stemming from residual build-up on the engine valves. Typically, the longer that a vehicle is left running with diesel in the tank, the closer it is pushed towards needing major engine repairs, or even an engine replacement in the worst case scenario.

The Removal and Restoration Steps That Pros With Auto Technician Training Know

Most qualified mechanics will follow a procedural pattern in dealing with diesel that’s been pumped into gas-powered cars. If it’s not known how much diesel may have been added, a mechanic will initially take a fuel sample to ascertain how much of this aberrant fuel is present in the car. Should they find even a small amount of diesel mixed with gasoline, the next step is typically to engage in draining any fuel in the vehicle’s tank. This is usually carried out using an automotive fuel siphon system, or careful extraction via the car’s drainage plug, taking care to remove any fuel from fuel lines. Catching diesel at this stage, purely in the tank, will largely negate the impact of diesel being pumped into the car.

However, if a mechanic has established that diesel has made its way into the car’s engine, a full engine flush and inspection of the fuel filters should be carried out. Should the engine fail to start, a compression test and sequential process of identifying damaged parts and replacing them will complete the process of getting the car road ready again.

Do you want to learn how to deal with any automotive crisis?

If so, contact Automotive Training Centres today and choose from a range of automotive courses that could prove to be your route to a bright career.

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