Drivers are being warned about a common mistake that could cost them £1,300.

Whether you’re rushing on the school run, in the thick of a work commute, or even using a new or hired vehicle, accidents can happen and you’re not alone if you’ve fallen victim to the common mistake of misfuelling.

To put it simply, misfuelling is when you use the wrong type of fuel for your vehicle, with diesel drivers being more prone to this blunder due to the wider fuel filler that can accommodate petrol pumps too.

According to the RAC, 150,000 UK drivers per year make this fuel faux pas, which can set drivers back up to £1,295 plus more, depending on the damage caused.

However, don’t panic, you can easily save time and money by knowing what to do if you find yourself in this very scenario.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Putting the wrong fuel in your car could cost you £1,300Putting the wrong fuel in your car could cost you £1,300 (Image: Getty)

What to do if you put the wrong fuel in your car

Fuel card expert and Sales Director at Right Fuel Card, David James, shares three simple next steps after misfuelling your vehicle.

Switch off & remove the key

“Put the car into neutral and leave the engine switched off, even removing the key entirely, as this can cause the most damage to your vehicle.”

Ask for help

“Let the petrol station staff know what has happened. More often than not, they will be able to help you with more tailored next steps and advise you straight away.”

Make the call

“Call your breakdown cover provider or a local garage so that they can drain and flush your fuel system as soon as possible.

“Be sure to also call your insurance provider just in case of any lasting damage as your policy may not cover misfuelling.”

How to spot if you have put the wrong fuel in your car

Turning on the ignition after misfuelling causes the most damage to your vehicle, so it’s vital that you avoid doing this if possible. However, in some cases you may not have noticed the mistake before continuing your journey so David also shares 5 easy to spot misfuelling warning signs:

  • A loud knocking sound as you accelerate
  • Excessive smoke from the exhaust
  • Slower acceleration
  • Engine warning lights are on
  • The vehicle will not restart

“It’s important to pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so and complete the same three next steps that you would do if you had noticed the mistake any earlier.”

David added: “Prevention is always better than the cure and the best way to avoid misfuelling is to put a sticker on the filler cover to remind you what fuel is required. There are also handy anti-misfuelling devices you can implement in your vehicle as a further precaution.

“The important thing is to not panic, decision-making can be harder if you don’t remain calm. Always remember that fuelling mistakes can happen and there are many solutions out there, so always focus on safety first if you find yourself in this common situation.”