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

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...

Related questions

Q: Leak keeping top from going up.

Hello. I have found that the most common cause of leaking fluid on this system is the hydraulic piston assembly. Over time the seals start leaking and allow the fluid to come out and many times the top will not...

Q: Diesel in gasoline tank

Gasoline engines cannot run on diesel because it is very hard to get it to burn from the ignition; you need very high heat and pressure to get diesel to combust. For example, if you were to throw a match...

Q: Cylinder 2 misfire

You need to pull out the coil and check to see if there is oil in the spark plug hole, or on the plug wire boot. If there is, then replace the valve cover and spark plug boots after cleaning...