Inheriting an elderly loved one's car can be a blessing, especially if it's something they cherished in life. But if the gas tank has water in it, you won't have a chance to enjoy the car. If cars sit for a long time without running, they can get water in the tank from condensation. The gas in the tank can also turn into water over time. Instead of leaving the car in the garage, you can get the water out the car's gas tank. Here's how water forms in gas tanks and tips to get it out now.
How Did Water Get Inside Your Inherited Car?
Gasoline evaporates when exposed to extreme heat, especially if your loved one's garage became very hot during summer. When the garage cooled down during in the evenings, the evaporated gas turned back into a liquid. However, instead of being pure fuel, the evaporated gas mixes with the water vapors in the air, which dilutes its strength.
Condensation is another problem with cars that sit over time, especially in the winter. Condensation occurs when water vapors or gases convert to liquids or solids as a result of cool air mixing with warm air. For example, if your loved one previously heated the garage's cool air as an extension of the home's heating system, the warm air mixed with the garage's cold air and turned into condensation. Condensated air can rust the metal housing of the car's gas tank, which allows water to penetrate it and affect the fuel.
A car that has gas in the tank usually gives off specific signs, such as sputtering when you crank it up or stalling when you drive it. Sometimes, the car won't start at all. You may even smell gas inside the car if the water traveled down the fuel line to the engine and other parts. Filling the car up with fresh gasoline won't solve the problem either, because the water dilutes it.
You can get rid of the water in the fuel tank safely, quickly and efficiently.
How Do You Remove the Water From the Gas Tank Safely?
A number of people use garden hoses or plastic tubing to remove or siphon water from their gas tanks, but you want to avoid doing this. Siphoning by garden hose or tubing requires inserting one end of the hose or tube into the tank, then placing your mouth on the other end to suck or pull the watery fuel into it. You can accidentally swallow watery gas and become sick.
There's an easier and safer way to siphon the water from the gas tank. Before you begin, remember that the gas tank still contains gasoline, so you'll smell fumes as you empty it. It's a good idea that you wear a nose mask while you siphon the tank.
Now, here's what you do:
- Purchase a portable gas tank to hold the watery fuel.
- Purchase a battery-operated gas siphoning pump to remove the watery fuel. If you can't find a siphoning pump, use a multi-use hand pump to manually remove the gas. You can find both types of pumps in the auto and truck department of your local retailer.
- Place the end of the pump's connecting tubing or hose into the gas tank. Insert the other end of the pump into the portable gas tank.
- Hold on to the hose or tubing with one hand to keep it steady, then press the "on" or "pump" button to operate the pump. If you're manually operating the pump, squeeze and release it with the palm of your hand until the watery fuel flows through the hose or tube.
- Wait until the water empties completely out of the tank, then remove the hose or tubing from it.
After you remove the water, fill the tank with fresh fuel. Crank up the car and let it run for 10 to 15 minutes. You want to circulate the clean fuel through the car to help push out any water that traveled into the fuel lines. The car should run normally after you complete the steps above.
If you still have problems with the car, take it to an auto repair shop for services.