I Accidentally Put Premium Gas in My Car. Now What?

Accidentally putting premium gas in your car will only damage your wallet—it won’t affect your engine or any other components.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Edited by Bellina Gaskey
If you accidentally put premium gas in your car, don’t fret—it won’t damage your engine or any other components. While there’s nothing wrong with putting too high a grade of fuel in your car, you will encounter issues if you drive a luxury vehicle and use too low a grade. 
  • As long as you’re driving a gasoline-powered vehicle, using premium gasoline at the pump shouldn’t cause damage to your vehicle.
  • Using diesel in a gas-powered vehicle or vice versa could cause extensive damage.
  • Check your owner’s manual to get a better understanding of your vehicle’s fuel requirements.

What happens if I put premium gas in my car?

Even if your gas-powered vehicle doesn’t require premium gas, it shouldn’t harm your engine or any other components of your car.
Here’s why: Premium gasoline has higher levels of octane and a longer burn period than regular gas, which means there are fewer deposits left over after the burn. This makes it a better option for high-performing and luxury cars. 
Regular fuel has a short burn time, can ignite at lower temperatures, and will leave more deposits in the vehicle’s system. 
The only real issue you’ll see is if you don’t put premium fuel in a car that requires it, which is common for many luxury vehicles on the market. That’s when you might notice your engine start to underperform—and you risk damaging it if you do so repeatedly.
Check your owner’s manual to get a better understanding of your vehicle’s fuel requirements.

What happens if I put the “wrong” fuel grade in my car? 

While premium fuel is pretty forgiving, the same can’t be said for all grades of fuel and any accidental fill-ups. 
The big offender: If you put diesel fuel in a gas car, it can end up clogging the fuel filter and fuel injectors and seizing up the engine. 
If this happens to you, you should drain your car of the diesel right away—and you shouldn’t attempt to drive it.
Putting gas in a diesel car can be just as bad. It can damage your fuel injector pump, leading to an engine misfire. You may need to repair, rebuild, or fully replace engine components, so you should also get your car drained if this mixup occurs.

Will insurance cover gasoline removal?

Unfortunately, your car insurance likely won't pay for the cost of draining the wrong fuel out of your car. This is because the fuel mishap was preventable—totally your mistake. 
The caveat: If a gas station attendant pumps the wrong gas into your vehicle and you suffer substantial damage as a result of their error, you may be eligible to sue for damages to recuperate repair and towing costs.
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It depends on the type of gas and car you’re dealing with.
Putting premium fuel in an economy-class car will have no effect, but standard fuel in a premium-only car can affect performance and driveability.
Putting diesel in a gas car will clog your filter and injectors and lead to your engine seizing up. Gas in a diesel car will damage your fuel injector pump, resulting in an engine misfire and possibly leading to major repairs.
Premium fuel normally costs 10-12 cents per gallon more than regular gasoline in the United States. 
That works up to about 2-3 cents per liter—which definitely adds up over time!
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