Misfuelling - what should you do if you use the wrong fuel?

What steps should you take if you accidently put the wrong fuel in your vehicle and will your car insurance policy cover additional costs?

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Misfuelling - what should you do if you use the wrong fuel?


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What to do if you misfuel

Around 150,000 drivers make this mistake every year1 and the recent launch of the E10 petrol has also raised concerns amongst some vehicle owners of the compatibility of the new fuel.  But what steps should you take if you accidently put the wrong fuel in your vehicle and will your car insurance policy cover additional costs?

Don’t switch your engine on!

If you realise you have put the wrong type of fuel in your car, don't switch the engine on, especially if you've filled your diesel car with petrol. This will help contain the mixed fuel in the tank and stop it from circulating and causing permanent damage to your vehicle.

Do tell the petrol attendant

You won’t be the first or last vehicle owner to use the wrong fuel. They may be able to help you to move the car to a safer position to wait for breakdown recovery.

Do call your insurer

Your policy may provide cover to pay for the cost of draining your fuel tank or repairing any damage to the engine, they will have a procedure for you to follow as part of the claims process. 

 

Is my car compatible with E10?

Many drivers have raised concerns over compatibility of the new fuel and there will be a small number of older vehicles (including classic cars and some from the early 2000) who will need to continue to use E5 fuel ‘super’ grade (97-octane).  

Over 95% of petrol cars in the UK can run perfectly well on E10, but some older classic cars and motorcycles shouldn’t use it2

Check if your car is compatible with the new fuel by visiting the Government E10 vehicle checker.

Will my car still run if incompatible with E10?

If you put E10 fuel into an incompatible car3, it will still run, and you won’t need to drain the petrol tank as you would if you put diesel into a petrol engine. But if you keep on using E10 there’s a risk of engine damage over time. Make sure you top up with the correct fuel as soon as possible when a third to half a tank is used.

Owners of classic cars need to be particularly careful not to accidentally fill up with E10 and leave it in the tank for longer periods, as the damage to seals, plastic and metals could be very expensive to repair.

What counts as a classic car?

A vehicle can be considered classic for insurance purposes provided it's at least 15 years old. Insurance providers will also take annual mileage and condition into account. 

We would recommend for all car owners, particularly classic car owners to check if mis-fuelling is covered within their policy, there are many markets available which will provide cover and our team at PIB Insurance Brokers can assist you in finding the right one. 

With an expert motor insurance team, we can help if you need any further advice or guidance.  Please contact your local branch or your usual PIB contact.

Sources:

 

1https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/know-how/wrong-fuel-recovery/

2https://www.theaa.com/about-us/newsroom/e10-fuel-press-release

3https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/emissions/what-is-e10-fuel-and-how-could-it-affect-you/

14.09.21