Drivers urged to follow specific steps after mistaking E10 with E5

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Motorists have been urged to follow specific steps when they accidentally fill up their incompatible cars with E10 petrol. According to one motoring expert, there are more than 600,000 cars that are not compatible with the new E10 fuel. On top of that, around 150,000 drivers end up putting the wrong fuel in their cars every year. 

With that in mind, Dorry Potter of National Scrap Car advised motorists on what they should do if they make that mistake. 

She said: “When motorists are at the pumps the difference between the types may not be clear, meaning some motorists may slip up and put the wrong fuel in their cars.

“Luckily, the mistake is not as severe as putting diesel in an unleaded engine and vice versa.

“Although putting E10 in a non-compatible engine will cause damage if done often, by corroding some metal and plastic components, the occasional slip up, however, won’t cause too much harm to the vehicle.”

Ms Potter added: “Unlike other fuel confusion which often will require the fuel tank to be drained or may ruin your engine altogether, E10 instead of E5 just requires the E10 to be mixed in the tank with E5 until the E10 is used up.

“When around a third of the tank of the E10 has been used (if filling up), top up the tank with E5, this will lessen the potentially damaging impact of the wrong fuel.

“If you only put a bit of E10 in by mistake, simply just fill up the rest of the tank with E5.

“Motorists who find themselves feeling particularly forgetful may want to put a small sticker with E5 on near their fuel gauge to help remind them which fuel to choose before refuelling.”

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However, drivers were warned that if they keep filling up their cars with the incompatible E10, it could lead to serious issues. 

Ms Potter said: “There are two issues with this fuel though. The first is that not all cars are compatible with it meaning that if someone was to absentmindedly put this fuel in a non-compatible car it is likely to cause damage.

“The Government has a tool on their website which helps motorists check whether their car is able to have E10.

“Secondly, E10 is less efficient for motorists, due to the higher ethanol content drivers will get fewer miles per gallon than with E5, meaning more trips to the pumps and more money coming out of wallets.

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“Not something anyone needs with fuel prices still being high and the cost of living crisis.”

NFU Mutual also advised drivers that prevention is always better than a cure, so drivers should double-check what fuel they can use in their cars.

Dave Rossall, NFU Mutual’s Motor Claims Manager, echoed Mr Goodwick’s comments and urged drivers to check their compatibility with E10 before visiting a petrol station.

He said: “Putting the wrong fuel into a vehicle is comparatively easy to do so it should be reassuring to know that there is insurance cover in place.

“Expert opinion varies but putting E10 petrol into an older petrol driven vehicle once should be OK, but it’s not recommended to repeatedly make that mistake because it could cause damage.

“Putting E10 petrol into a diesel vehicle will definitely spell trouble.”

Putting petrol into a diesel car by mistake is easier than vice versa because the pump nozzle will fit into the wider filler neck of a diesel.

Putting diesel into a petrol tank is more challenging but not impossible.

When arriving at the filling station forecourt, drivers should not rely on the colour of the pump but instead, make sure the correct fuel is used by checking the information on or near the nozzle.

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