Most - if not all - breakdown cover policies will not cover the costs of draining and flushing your vehicle after misfuelling. However, they should help you reach somewhere where you can get the problem fixed.
Misfuelling is when you put the wrong type of fuel in your car, be it petrol in a diesel car, or diesel in a petrol car. If you've made this error, you're not alone - around 150,000 motorists do it every year in the UK.
Putting the wrong type of fuel in your vehicle can damage the engine and mechanical components. Putting petrol in a diesel car is far more damaging than vice versa, and can be expensive to sort out.
Diesel fuel simultaneously acts as a lubricant for the engine, but petrol is a solvent, and when put into a diesel vehicle will remove lubrication and cause components to rub against each other. Small particles from the components can come loose and damage the engine, fuel injection system and other critical parts of your vehicle.
As soon as you realise you've misfuelled, park somewhere safe and turn off your ignition. If you realise immediately after misfuelling at the fuel pump, do not turn on the engine. Inform the fuel station staff straight away.
If you haven't turned on the ignition, with luck, little or no damage will be done to your engine.
Immediately call your car breakdown provider. If you have a policy with startrescue.co.uk, call us on 01206 655000 and tell us where you are and what has happened.
You should check your breakdown cover policy document for cover related to misfuelling. Your breakdown cover provider may tow you to a garage or somewhere safe, where your vehicle's fuel system can be drained and flushed.
Draining and flushing your fuel system is a time-consuming and expensive process that is not covered by most - if not all - breakdown cover policies. However, read your policy document to find out what cover you might have.
Some vehicle insurance policies may contribute to the costs of draining and flushing your fuel system if you have not driven anywhere after misfuelling. However, if you have driven any distance the damage is likely to be more extensive, and many policies would regard this as "negligent", and refuse to pay any repair costs.
However, once again, read your policy document to find out what you are covered for.
Some car insurance policies do offer cover for accidental damage caused by driving with the wrong fuel. If yours does not, you can take out a specialist, standalone policy. But of course, if the damage has just been done, taking out such a policy won’t be of help. Instead, you'll have to call out a specialist to drain and flush your fuel system.
Draining and flushing a fuel system requires the services of an experienced technician. As a rough guide, this service could cost between £120 and £300. If you have driven away with the wrong fuel the damage could be more severe, and you may well break down and cause an obstruction - both of which could mean a higher fee is charged due to the time and resources required.