Wife ran out of gas

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May 6, 2005
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It was a really weird because my wife went to pick up our kid from an evening class. Then I got some calls from a phone number I didn't recognize and I didn't answer. Then I got a text that sounded like it was my wife with information she would know, and said she forgot her phone (and implied borrowing someone else's). Indicated that her car wouldn't start and could I pick them up?

So I get there, and the hood on my wife's Civic is up, although the prop rod isn't in the right place. I'm pretty sure that my wife put it up that way. She says that other people told her there was probably something wrong with the ignition, that they could smell gas and apparently looked at the ignition to see that it was sparking. And I'm all skeptical because this is a distributorless ignition with a coil on plug design and no way to just pull the boot and see if it sparks on the valve cover like I'd seen years ago demonstrate by a mechanic. Someone even apparently tried to jump it, although when I got there the battery seemed strong (a 4 year old Deka that even went through months sitting unused and occasionally charged manually) where I could tell the battery and starter were fine without the clicking sound of a starter that just isn't getting enough juice. But somehow someone else convinced her that the battery had an issue because "the battery light was on" when she tried to start it. Only - all the indicator lights turn on when trying to start before they turn off and only stay on if there's an issue.

So I figure we need gas, although my wife seems skeptical. But I know she runs on fumes all the time and has just gotten lucky. I didn't want to buy a new can but remembered I kept an old gas can at my parents' place to help them out with power equipment. Not the new kind to reduce evaporation, but an old-school Blitz plastic can with a spout that just pulls out and potentially leaks a bit. So I go there with the family and my dad shows me two cans, including the one he bought (seemed just like the one I bought) that has a little gas. Only I'm not going to put in 2 year old gas, but take my old can that seems dry.

So we go fill the can up as a gas station, get back to her car, and I pour it in. It hesitates for a few seconds (I guess since the pump was dry) and then starts up nice and strong like it usually does. My wife drives it home and I find a place to stash the can.

But still - there were several people who were telling my wife things such as it needing to be fixed or that somehow it wasn't sparking when there was no way to tell. And I knew that even if one coil was bad, it would still start but sound odd. And she was ready to call for a tow, although I think AAA roadside service would have probably tried giving some gas first.
 
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That is why my bride has strict instructions to NOT LET ANYONE TOUCH OUR CARS. Call me, or a professional...don't even talk to someone who stops by other than through a cracked window, letting them know help is already on the way, or to call the cops as she needs real help (if she forgot her phone).
 

y_p_w

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I forgot to mention the reason why I got the call and text from a strange number is because she forgot her phone at home and asked me to bring it.

And I guess a reason why she didn't believe that she was out of gas was because she managed to get it to a parking space, and didn't necessarily believe that it would somehow be out of gas at that exact point. I was telling her that there can be some weird things going on and there can be fuel in the system, but not enough to start or in the right place if it's low.
 
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That is why my bride has strict instructions to NOT LET ANYONE TOUCH OUR CARS. Call me, or a professional...don't even talk to someone who stops by other than through a cracked window, letting them know help is already on the way, or to call the cops as she needs real help (if she forgot her phone).
My wife is instructed, that should she ever break down and depending on the situation, to exit the vehicle and hide somewhere where she can see the car but others can't see her. I read about people getting struck by other cars when they exit the vehicle and stand on the shoulder. It's dangerous to just sit in a car on the shoulder on a highway. A cracked window isn't going to protect anyone from someone that means to do them harm.
 
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I forgot to mention the reason why I got the call and text from a strange number is because she forgot her phone at home and asked me to bring it.

And I guess a reason why she didn't believe that she was out of gas was because she managed to get it to a parking space, and didn't necessarily believe that it would somehow be out of gas at that exact point. I was telling her that there can be some weird things going on and there can be fuel in the system, but not enough to start or in the right place if it's low.
Last time I ran out of gas (15 years ago), I was at the stop sign instead of coasting at speed. If you look at how gas was used it is not continuous flat consumption but rather tracking acceleration, so anytime you step on gas pedal is the time you are likely running out, so she got lucky it was at the parking spot already as she coast in, I guess.
 
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Feb 15, 2003
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Jupiter, Florida
I ran out of fuel in college, coasted into the gas station. That was quite funny.

Having a little bit of spare fuel is always a comfort.
 
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Mar 10, 2021
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Tx
I ran out of fuel in college, coasted into the gas station. That was quite funny.

Having a little bit of spare fuel is always a comfort.
Back in HS, I borrowed my Dad's VW Beetle on the weekends and always and return it in the evening with gas gauge arrow pointed at "E".
 
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Feb 25, 2014
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My mother broke down in her RX 350 Lexus in a real bad side of town on the Kansas City Missouri side. The only saving grace was I had borrowed her car the day before and left my h&k in the middle console. I was pretty upset when I couldn't find it, but my mom was pretty thrilled when she found it.
 
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IMHO, the experience of running out of gas once should be enough to learn that you don't want to do it again. I guess it needs to be miserable enough to convince oneself that watching the fuel gage, and keeping the tank at least 1/4 full at all times, is a lot easier than the inconvenience of running out.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
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Las Vegas
My wife ran out of gas at least 3 times (that i knew about) in her new Camaro. I was exasperated and explained what she was doing was unsafe and dangerous, and if I ever saw the fuel gauge below 1/4 tank I was taking the car away from her and she would have to find alternate transportation. I was serious and she knew it.

It worked.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2021
Messages
1,120
It was a really weird because my wife went to pick up our kid from an evening class. Then I got some calls from a phone number I didn't recognize and I didn't answer. Then I got a text that sounded like it was my wife with information she would know, and said she forgot her phone (and implied borrowing someone else's). Indicated that her car wouldn't start and could I pick them up?

So I get there, and the hood on my wife's Civic is up, although the prop rod isn't in the right place. I'm pretty sure that my wife put it up that way. She says that other people told her there was probably something wrong with the ignition, that they could smell gas and apparently looked at the ignition to see that it was sparking. And I'm all skeptical because this is a distributorless ignition with a coil on plug design and no way to just pull the boot and see if it sparks on the valve cover like I'd seen years ago demonstrate by a mechanic. Someone even apparently tried to jump it, although when I got there the battery seemed strong (a 4 year old Deka that even went through months sitting unused and occasionally charged manually) where I could tell the battery and starter were fine without the clicking sound of a starter that just isn't getting enough juice. But somehow someone else convinced her that the battery had an issue because "the battery light was on" when she tried to start it. Only - all the indicator lights turn on when trying to start before they turn off and only stay on if there's an issue.

So I figure we need gas, although my wife seems skeptical. But I know she runs on fumes all the time and has just gotten lucky. I didn't want to buy a new can but remembered I kept an old gas can at my parents' place to help them out with power equipment. Not the new kind to reduce evaporation, but an old-school Blitz plastic can with a spout that just pulls out and potentially leaks a bit. So I go there with the family and my dad shows me two cans, including the one he bought (seemed just like the one I bought) that has a little gas. Only I'm not going to put in 2 year old gas, but take my old can that seems dry.

So we go fill the can up as a gas station, get back to her car, and I pour it in. It hesitates for a few seconds (I guess since the pump was dry) and then starts up nice and strong like it usually does. My wife drives it home and I find a place to stash the can.

But still - there were several people who were telling my wife things such as it needing to be fixed or that somehow it wasn't sparking when there was no way to tell. And I knew that even if one coil was bad, it would still start but sound odd. And she was ready to call for a tow, although I think AAA roadside service would have probably tried giving some gas first.
A lot of people that dont know Jack but feel macho looking under the hood of a car. I love those kind of people they're looking under the hood of a 5 year old car that doesn't start and they'll say something stupid like it's the carburetor. Btw that is one of worst things to do is drive around on fumes.
 

Astro14

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Oct 10, 2010
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honestly, there is much to unpack here...unless a gas gauge is dysfunctional, why would anyone get under 1/2 without looking to refill? that lesson was drilled into me by a dear uncle who was a cold war, curtis lemay era, usaf sac tanker navigator.
I reset the trip odometer every time I fill up, as a backup to the gauge.

Your uncle and I would get along…
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
1,709
Location
Ohio
Gotta love the fix-all jump start to fix problems, especially when the engine has no problem cranking. "Oh, but what if the battery doesn't have enough juice to run the ignition while it's cranking?". Doesn't work that way! If the battery voltage is staying high enough to keep the starter cranking mightily, then trust me, the ignition and the rest of the world is also getting enough voltage.
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
7,591
Location
Scruffy City
Normally my experience has been that women are more apt to both have gas and their phone, but there are exceptions.

I mean Mrs DuckRyder has a significantly higher risk or being kidnapped raped and/or sold into the sex trade if stranded on the side of the road than I do - statistically... so she wants to fill up at a 1/4 tank, me I will run it into the negative numbers on "range to empty".

That said way back in the day there was a woman, she was a smart professional lady too... had her cadillac towed in 3 times for a no start when it was out of gas all 3 times. She paid for it all 3 times too, so you would think that she would have caught on a little quicker than that.
 
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