How to identify a car running on Diesel or Petrol?


Posted by: Oluwaseun Adeniji

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This article will provide you with tips to easily identify a petrol car and a diesel car without looking at its manual. Dive in and see simple tips for you to do that!

Of course, every one of us knows the right kind of fuel for our car, but when you have to rent one, how could you be sure? Putting diesel into a petrol car or vice versa would still make the vehicle up and running, but eventually, it will inflict irreversible damage to the car. Not to mention that the money to fix this type of damage is not covered by almost any rental agreement. So if you're confused about how to identify between 2 types of cars, take a look at these tips below:

Below are tips to identify between petrol-only and diesel-only cars. You could use one or all of them to be really sure:

1. Listen to distinctive sound

Old diesel cars have a very unpleasant sound when the engine is on, compared to that of their petrol counterparts. The sounds will get heavier and heavier as the vehicle gets to the road. Still, modern diesel cars are integrated with computerized systems don't produce much noise, so you probably need more than this one tip.


Old diesel cars not only make annoying sound but also release more smoke

2. Check the label on the fuel cap

The internal side of the fuel door often have labels such as "Gas only" or "Diesel only" and you should see it very easily when you stop for fuel. This can differ between models. Some print this label outside the fuel door, on the car key or on the tableau. Generally, the label will show up somewhere visible inside or outside your car. 

3. Find the clue in the Model name

This one is easy and should be obvious. Diesel cars will often have the word "D" in it. For instance, the BMW 535D or Infiniti EX30D all run on diesel. The name of your vehicle will often appear on the back of the car.

>>> See why commercial vehicles use diesel! Advantages of diesel engines in heavy duty vehicles

4. Take a look at the engine

If you're an experienced car owner, you should know that there difference in the engines of diesel-operated and petrol cars. Some old diesel vehicles don't have the throttle body or the air flow sensor. Also, engines running on diesel don't have a spark plug.

5. Find matching fuel pump

If you can't use any of the tips above, try this one. Generally speaking, new petrol models have a rather tight nozzle compared to a thick and wide nozzle of the diesel pump. If you have to use force to put the nozzle into the fuel tube, it's probably the wrong one for your car


Unfitting nozzle could be a sign

On the other hand, since the petrol's nozzle is smaller than that of a diesel car, it could slide easily into fuel tube. So when you plug it in, make sure it's not too tight or too loose.

>>> Like this article? Check out for more here: tips-and-advice from Naijauto experts!

Oluwaseun Adeniji

Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Oluwaseun Adeniji is a passionate writer and a poet with special interest in writing about cars. He is a master degree holder in international conflict and management. He enjoys feeding the public with the latest auto gist and well researched car reviews. He is also a strong football lover. So, if Oluwaseun is not writing, expect him to be reading about sports.

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