The AA said it had attended 250 such incidents over the weekend compared with 20-25 on an average day as the country grapples with supply delays and anxious motorists
Image: Craig Connor/ChronicleLive)
Motorists are accidently filling their tanks with the wrong kind of fuel and it could cost hundreds to repair, a breakdown group has warned.
More than five times as many people as usual in the UK have mistakenly put diesel in their petrol engine or vice versa since the fuel crisis erupted, the AA said.
Topping up using the wrong fuel can cause significant damage to cars, and motorists are advised to not switch on the ignition at all once they realise their mistake.
The driver will need to have their tank drained while the contaminated fuel has to be jettisoned.
The AA said it had attended 250 such incidents over the weekend compared with 20-25 on an average day.
The breakdown company has a fleet of specialist “fuel assist” vans to deal with this type of incident – but the service will set motorists back around £200.
In most cases, your insurer won’t cover the cost of this.
“Misfuelling is an identified exclusion on motor insurance policies as it is classified as a self-induced fault,” Jack Cousens at the AA told The Mirror.
“If you do mistakenly put the wrong fuel in your car, do not start it as it can cause additional problems.”
The AA president, Edmund King, added: “Drivers need to be careful because this weekend we have seen a dramatic rise in misfuelling compared to last weekend. This in turn unnecessarily reduces the fuel available as the whole tank has to be drained before refilling with the correct fuel.”
He called on drivers to avoid filling stations until necessary amid warnings demand has pushed fuel prices up to an eight year high.
“For the vast majority of drivers there is no need to rush to the pumps, and we urge people to only fill up when essential. There is no need to top up ‘just in case’.”
If you accidently use the wrong fuel, Confused.com says you you should not turn the engine on.
What the petrol shortage means for you
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert, said: “It’s important to remember that if you accidentally fill up with the wrong fuel, you should not switch on the engine, or even put the key in the ignition.
“Damage caused by using the wrong fuel can be costly, resulting in potentially needing the fuel system to be completely replaced, depending on the fuel you’ve used.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always something you can reclaim from your insurer.
Some policies include cover for misfuelling, while some might allow you to claim under accidental damage. But this isn’t guaranteed. If you realise you have used the wrong fuel, always get in touch with your insurer to understand if you are covered and can reclaim any costs.
“If you’re confused about what to do if you accidentally put the wrong fuel in your car, our guide outlines the key steps to take, including how best to move your car and who to contact.”
A Direct Line spokesman added: “We would always encourage our customers to use the correct fuel that is needed for their vehicle, as to not do so can cause damage.
“If there’s an instance where customers have accidently put the incorrect fuel into their vehicle, we advise not to drive it, and to contact us to discuss next steps.”