Putting diesel in a petrol car is a bad idea. The car will travel for about 1/2km as it uses up the the petrol in the carburetor. Increasingly pinking then eventually giving up the ghost with black smoke billowing out of the exhaust. On older cars this is not a disaster. Simply draining the diesel out of the fuel tank, refilling with petrol and then then clearing its throat for about 10 minutes can cure things.

The research for this node was carried out by my stupid boyfriend on a hire car in Cyprus. The car sounded like a diesel and the filler cap gave no indication as such. Diesel does however have a distinctive smell so sniff the tank if you are not sure. Also, UK filling stations have nozzles of a different size for petrol and diesel to prevent such accidents.

As it turns out we were not stranded for long as we were soon picked up by the Greek Police, being as we were on the edge of no-man's land on the Greek/Turkish Cypriot border.

I must admit I tried to improve my MPG by accidently putting in diesel. I had been driving the car for a long while, and the engine was hot. I filled up at a mom-and-pop gas station, and their pumps were not labeled. I picked the one that was cheaper (regular leaded, this was a while ago).

I then went to pick up my girlfriend in my dope ride, a 1966 Dodge Dart with a slant six engine. We started heading home, when the car started acting sluggish. It got worse, and it was smoking pretty badly. I turned around and headed back, since I didn't want to get caught in the Adirondack mountains in New York at night in the snow with a dead car.

I must admit, the car did not die on me. The plugs were hot enough to get the diesel ignited, especially since about a quarter of the tank was gasoline. We made it back, and I spent six hours draining a full gas tank into bottles. I found some guy with a diesel truck, and I donated it to him. He didn't mind the extra gas kick to the petrol.

After this incident, I found two things. First, just as suggested by mgriffithsuk, sniff the nozzle if you're unsure. Secondly, Sears Die Hard batteries lasted through over 100 start attempts. I was impressed.

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