Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is It Safe to Drive With a Diesel Leak?

Diesel Leak

While diesel engines aren’t as popular in the US as they are in the UK and Europe, they do have their adherents, most notably in the heavy-duty truck sector. Diesel systems are very different from their gasoline counterparts, and that includes the fears about a fuel leak. Is it safe to drive with a diesel leak? It depends.

Some things to watch out for include:

  • Flash Point: Both diesel and gasoline ignite. Both types of fuel burn inside the engine – that’s what creates the combustion necessary to move your vehicle. However, diesel has a very high flash point when compared to gasoline, hence the much higher compression needed for these engines.

  • Little Fear of Fire Hazards: Because diesel has such a high ignition point, there’s little to worry about in terms of a fire hazard from a fuel leak. The real issue is corrosion and damage to plastic and rubber components. Diesel is heavily oil-based, which means that it is corrosive. If the leak continues unabated for too long and drips onto rubber or plastic parts, it can cause significant damage. So, the location of the leak should be considered.

For instance, if the car is leaking from an injector and the fuel is running down and dripping on a CV boot, it will corrode the rubber and you’ll end up needing to replace the boot, too (and the CV joint if the problem goes unchecked for long enough that the joint is contaminated and damaged).

  • Severity of the Leak: You’ll need to consider the severity of the leak. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll lose more fuel than you can afford due to the leak (which can leave you stranded if the tank runs low).

  • Inspection and Repair: While the chance of experiencing a fire because of a diesel leak is much lower than with a gasoline engine, it’s still not a good idea to drive the vehicle too much. You’d most likely be safe driving a short distance, but it should be inspected and repaired as soon as possible.

While a diesel fuel leak might not be the fire hazard a gasoline leak is, it’s still a concern. You can probably drive for a short distance, but it should be limited.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...


Related questions

Q: overheating

You seem to be indicating there is a leak, possibly a coolant leak. If so, the leak point(s) in the cooling system should be identified in a leak diagnostic and thence repaired. If perhaps the leak relates to the water...

Q: Diesel poured into a gasoline car

At least you didn't put gasoline into the diesel car. If you did and started the engine, the engine would blow up. Diesel fuel is a lower grade fuel so your engine is probably going to ping. I'd advise draining...

Q: Top radiator hose tight on 2004 dodge truck and loosing water that i dont see

Hi there. Look at all of the cooling hoses for the engine and the heater, radiator, core plugs (freeze plugs), and the engine oil. Look for any coolant leaking out of any port that could leak. Look around the core...