What Happens if You Put Gasoline in a Diesel Engine?

(Updated on July 28, 2022)

When you go to the gas station, you will probably notice up to 4 different fuel options available at the pump. The first three will be regular unleaded, super unleaded, and premium. Each one of these fuel options is considered to be gasoline. The fourth fuel option that you will find available is diesel fuel. This is not gasoline like the first three options. Therefore, if you are driving a vehicle with a diesel engine, you cannot expect gasoline fuel to be acceptable for it. Diesel engines require a special type of fuel that is separate from gasoline.

Diesel Engine vs Gasoline Engine

What you must understand is that diesel engines do not function the same way as gasoline engines. A diesel engine still ignites the fuel, but only after air compression takes place. The fuel injectors will put fuel into the chamber after the compressed air has already entered. This creates an ignition that does not require a spark. In a gasoline engine, the pistons compress the air as it mixes with the gasoline. The spark plugs will then generate a spark to ignite this mixture.

Diesel Fuel vs Gasoline

Diesel fuel and gasoline both come from crude oil but are comprised of different classes of hydrocarbons. Since diesel fuel has been refined to be heavier, its compression will result in the ignition in the engine. That is why it does not need a spark like gasoline does. Now for the big question, what happens if you put regular gasoline into a diesel engine? Will it still work? The answer is no because each fuel type has been refined in a certain way to accommodate the engine that it’s made for. If you put gasoline into a diesel engine, the engine will quickly get damaged as you continue to drive the vehicle.

Read also: The Difference between Supercharger VS Turbocharger

5 Symptoms of Putting Gasoline in a Diesel Engine

To prove this, below are the top 5 symptoms that you will experience if you put gasoline into a diesel engine.

Nonfunctional Fuel System – The fuel system is comprised of the fuel filter, fuel injectors, and fuel pump. In a diesel-powered vehicle, these components are designed to process the weight and class of diesel fuel. So, if you put gasoline fuel in the engine instead, it will cause permanent damage to these components. Then you will need to replace them all.

Ignition Failure – Ignition takes place automatically in a diesel engine. This can only happen with the highly compressed diesel fuel. If you were to put gasoline fuel into the engine, it would not be able to ignite automatically like diesel fuel could.

Engine Failure – If you accidentally put gasoline in your diesel engine and notice this right afterward, there is still enough time to save your engine from being permanently damaged. But if you do nothing and just continue driving your vehicle with gasoline fuel, then your diesel engine is going to ultimately fail. The only thing you’ll be able to do at this point is to replace the entire thing.

Shockwave – The diesel engine consists of numerous reciprocating components. The main components are wrist pins, rods, and pistons. In a normal scenario, the diesel fuel is ignited after it gets injected into the compressed air. This will create a normal detonation that will not harm the reciprocating components. But if there is gasoline in the diesel engine and an unnatural ignition happens to take place, it will be too much for the engine to handle. The result will be a shockwave which destroys all the reciprocating components in the engine.

Lubrication Failure – Diesel fuel is designed to lubricate the components of the diesel engine. Gasoline does not have this lubrication ability. This means that if gasoline is flowing through the components of a diesel engine, no lubrication is going to be taking place. There will just be a lot more friction created by the metal pieces rubbing together. The end result will be permanent damage to your engine.

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