Motorists are accidently filling their tanks with the wrong kind of fuel and it could cost hundreds to repair, a breakdown group has warned.

More than five times as many people as usual in the UK have mistakenly put diesel in their petrol engine or vice versa since the fuel crisis erupted, the AA said.

Topping up using the wrong fuel can cause significant damage to cars, and motorists are advised to not switch on the ignition at all once they realise their mistake.

The driver will need to have their tank drained while the contaminated fuel has to be jettisoned.

The AA said it had attended 250 such incidents over the weekend compared with 20-25 on an average day.

The breakdown company has a fleet of specialist "fuel assist" vans to deal with this type of incident – but the service will set motorists back around £200.

In most cases, your insurer won’t cover the cost of this.

“Misfuelling is an identified exclusion on motor insurance policies as it is classified as a self-induced fault,” Jack Cousens at the AA told The Mirror.

Using the wrong fuel can have serious consequences on your vehicle (

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“If you do mistakenly put the wrong fuel in your car, do not start it as it can cause additional problems.”

The AA president, Edmund King, added: "Drivers need to be careful because this weekend we have seen a dramatic rise in misfuelling compared to last weekend. This in turn unnecessarily reduces the fuel available as the whole tank has to be drained before refilling with the correct fuel."

He called on drivers to avoid filling stations until necessary amid warnings demand has pushed fuel prices up to an eight year high.

"For the vast majority of drivers there is no need to rush to the pumps, and we urge people to only fill up when essential. There is no need to top up 'just in case'."

If you accidently use the wrong fuel, Go Compare says you should not turn the engine on.

"Simply unlocking your car or turning the key in the ignition could engage fuel to the car’s engine and potentially cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, while driving your misfuelled car any distance, is considered intentional damage," Matt Oliver at Go Compare car insurance previously told The Mirror.

"It’s important to stop in your tracks, and call for assistance away from the forecourt. If you haven’t started the engine, draining and cleaning the tank of the wrong fuel should help fix the problem without damaging your car."

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