Monday, 2 September 2013

Of a Diesel of a Dilemma

We were having a great weekend. We had been to see the fabulous Red Arrows in Portrush, Argory House in Moy and the Bluegrass Music Festival in Omagh. And then between us (for the exact culprit shall not be revealed) we threw 6 litres of diesel into our car, which of course runs on petrol.

So what would you do if this happened to you? In fact I'd like you to tell me either by adding a comment below or by emailing me on and then I'll tell you what we did and whether or not it got us out of a major hole or just dropped us straight into a deeper one.

So here's what I did next. I phoned a family member and retired mechanic. He advised me to drain the fuel tank and under no circumstances start the engine. I called the AA because we're members. They advised that we weren't covered because we had caused the incident ourselves (they clearly took a dim view of those who "self harm"). They could assist but it would cost £240 plus extras including proper disposal of contaminated fuel.

I went into the petrol station to see if they knew a local company that specialised in misfueling. She didn't but very helpfully directed me to her dad who was working in the bar attached to the station. Clearly a family descended from the Good Samaritan himself dad left the bar to go inspect the situation with me. Noting that I'd only put in 6 litres he asked me if the tank was almost empty before pulling into the station and I confirmed it was. He said that it should be ok if I simply filled the tank with petrol and carried on driving. he said he would phone his mate who is a mechanic to check. He did and his advice didn't change.
I then got on the Net to see what the great font of knowledge Google himself was advising. Most of the relevant online chat talked about emptying the fuel tank although one guy did advise it would be alright to drive away after filling up with petrol as long as there was no more than 5% of diesel in the tank compared to petrol.

So there was my dilemma. Do I pay the AA £240+ and not risk it or take a chance and gamble on saving a wad of cash but ruining an engine which might cost £4,000+ to replace? The tank it transpired holds 40 litres. Your suggestions on the modern day equivalent of a postcard please...


  1. Assuming that's your Nissan I would fill it up with petrol and go.

  2. Ok clever clogs you're right. That's exactly what I did. Oddly, I got more mile per gallon out of the thing than I've ever had before!