Can I get my petrol back?
January 6, 2014 7:03 AM   Subscribe

The Peteyjlawsonmobile is dead, and most likely will not be resuscitated. In other annoying news, I filled the tank the day before the car decided to stop working. So, should I write it off as a loss, or can any Mefites suggest a cunning way of getting the petrol from the old car into the new car?
posted by peteyjlawson to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Best answer: Just siphon it out into a 5-gallon gas can 3 or 4 times, depending on the size of your old car's gas tank.
posted by Grither at 7:06 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A siphon, no?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:06 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: That's what siphons are for. Don't do it by mouth, as it's dangerous (and unpleasant), but all you really need is a length of rubber tubing, a suitable receptacle, and some way to get things started. If you want to, you can drop $10-15 at Walmart for a commercial version, which is something worth having anyway.
posted by valkyryn at 7:06 AM on January 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You could siphon it. But many cars these days have an anti-spill device in the fill tube that also prevents siphoning - or at least makes it more difficult. In that case, you punch a hole in the gas tank to get the fuel out.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:14 AM on January 6, 2014

Best answer: You likely do not need to punch a hole in the tank - there's almost certainly some sort of plug for draining or the fuel level sensor which can be opened.

Alternately, if you wish to syphon and this car is being towed & scrapped then you might simply bypass the anti-spill by getting to the filler hose beyond it. In several cars I have owned you could see the hose connection in the trunk (though it might be hidden behind some cheap felt interior siding) and could just cut into that hard rubber there and insert your syphon.

I suppose you could also, if it's a tow job, just punch a hole in the tank rather than spend time on precision. Or you could find the outflow point from the tank that goes to the engine. You may or may not have an in-tank pump that would impede flow from there if you just open that line. But please be responsible and have the right stuff around to capture the drip with - dumping a lot of fuel into the runoff so you can save some money is kind of shitty.

Personally I'd suggest writing it off unless you have so much spare time and a lot of bits and pieces around to do the syphon with. You'll be peeved if you drop the cost of several liters of fuel into buying a can and tubing and then are unable to get out enough to justify the hassle.
posted by phearlez at 9:30 AM on January 6, 2014

Best answer: If you're getting rid of your car by selling it for scrap, maybe the junkyard will give you a little extra for the petrol? Let them worry about reclaiming it. No doubt they check anyway least they have a yard full of old cars/fire hazards.
posted by Fukiyama at 10:41 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Be careful that whatever gas you get out of the car is still clean, which may be an issue if it's an old heap. Older tanks rust (I believe later model cars may not, but I'm not sure what you've got), and all kinds of gunk gets in there - often harmless IN the car as it passes through the fuel filter or never gets to the fuel pump (floats on top) but not something I'd want to introduce to another car to save a few bucks.

I feel your pain. In 2008 when gas was $4+ a gallon I filled the tank from "low fuel light" to "topped up," which was about 13-14 gallons in a Camry. And was hit by a drunk driver <10 miles later, totalling the car.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:42 PM on January 6, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies folks. I've decided to write it off with the car and try to get a little extra from the scrapyard for it rather than try to remove it myself. Don't think Mrs Peteyjlawson would be too happy with me having a lot of combustible fuel in the shed, for some reason...
posted by peteyjlawson at 1:21 PM on January 6, 2014

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