Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2004 PT Cruiser Turbo, diesel in gas tank

My wife and I went to a different gas station a few weeks ago, and she pumped what she thought was gas in the tank, after driving 20 miles the car started to run rough and blow black smoke. We stopped and called a tow truck as the car would not start again. At this point we still did not realize that she had put diesel in the tank. The tow company had a garage service and they said that they could repair the car. Th next morning we drove back to the station and realized that the pump she used was diesel and not gas, both gas and diesel were on the same pump so the nozzle does fit. I called the garage to let them know, they then began fixing the problem…first they said they would flush the gas tank and the fuel line, replaced all of the spark plugs. I picked up the car the next day and drove about 7 miles away and the car started to run rough again and had no acceleration. I called the garage and returned the car immediately. I was then told that it would need a new coil and spark plug wires. Those were replaced. The car ran great for about a week and now it has died again. When I try to start the car and put it in reverse, it sputters, and when you try to drive it, is just dies. My question is what should we do, the garage said that we would need to replace the entire fuel system due to the turbo system. Please let me know what to do, the car does not make a great lawn ornament.

I cannot see how Spark plug wires and ignition coils could have been damaged by diesel. Maybe the catalytic converter is now plugged up, that is the next thing I would check.

Thanks, I will give that a try, we are already have spent $700.00 on repairs and just wanted to be careful before we spend anymore.

I suspect the garage didn’t completely flush the fuel tank, and there’s still some diesel fuel getting through.

Maybe you need a different garage. Ignition parts should not be damaged. Replacing them is a waste of money.

What you need is to completely flush the gas tank and get every drop of diesel out of it. Easier said than done.

Then maybe your car will run correctly.

I frequent gas stations that have gasoline and diesel on the same pump, but NOT ON THE SAME HOSE. The diesel hose is clearly labeled, and is a different color. It’s not easy to confuse them.

Your wife needs to pay more attention while she’s fueling up your PT Cruiser.

"the garage said that we would need to replace the entire fuel system due to the turbo system"
The fuel system isn’t much different than a non turbo 2.4L. Different injectors but same fuel tank and fuel lines and these things won’t be damaged by diesel fuel.

I have drained diesel fuel from at least 20 vehicles and never had a problem. Even with the last 1/2 gallon in the tank that the fuel pump won’t pick up, mixed with 5 gallons of gasoline they run fine. A mixture of diesel in the tank makes the engine harder to start cold but the customer will likely fill the tank on the way home (the gauge reads less than 1/8 with 5 gallons).

If the vehicle is driven far enough on diesel it will foul the spark plugs.
I think you found a shop that isn’t very good at diagnosing drivablity problems and if the problem reoccurs after 7 miles I wonder if you ever had diesel in the tank.

Don’t razz this poor guys wife. I know a real rocket scientist(phd) on his first date with now wife who put diesel into car. She wondered why he was having so much trouble and he smelled so much until her little car was sputtering.

I’m surprised that the nozzle fit. All of the diesel nozzles that I’ve used around here are bigger. Maybe a complaint to the gas station is in order here.