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Putting petrol in a diesel car is called misfuelling, it is a serious mistake but also surprisingly common. About breakdown recovery companies deal with about 150,000 misfuels each year, often because they have moved from petrol to a diesel car and end up daydreaming in the fuel station, and picking up the wrong pump. If you do find yourself in this situation don’t panic, this article will tell you what to do.

1) Stop fueling
This may sound obvious, but stop fueling the moment you realise. If you have put only a splash of petrol in you may be ok, as long as you have less than 5% in your tank. If you want to take the risk of driving, ensure you stop frequently to top up with more diesel, and reduce the amount of petrol in your tank.

2) Do not turn the ignition key
This is the most important step, turning the ignition key is the most severe mistake you could make in this situation. Even if you haven’t actually started the engine, turning on the ignition the dashboard lighting up means the fuel pump has worked, in this case the tank would need to be drained and flushed.

3) Inform the attendants at the station
It’s more than likely that the attendants will have dealt with this situation before, they may want to erect a sign behind you to tell other motorists to join a different queue. Or, they may want to move your car. Remember not to start the engine, just release your handbrake and try to push the car.

4) Call a breakdown recovery company
Now is a good time to call a breakdown recovery company, they will be able to come and help you drain and flush your tank, and get you back on the road again.

5) Wait with your car
As long as your car is parked safely, you should wait with it until the breakdown recovery company arrives. It should take about 30-40 mins for the tank to be drained and flushed on the spot, after that you can fill it with the correct fuel and continue on your journey.

6) If you can’t wait, lock and leave your car
Locking the doors will not affect the fuel system, so if you can’t wait feel free to lock the car and return once the breakdown recovery company arrives.

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