Knowing how to siphon gas from a car or any other vehicle is important. That said, it is not taught as often as it used to be. Many people think of thieves when they think of siphoning gas, so its popularity has waned in recent decades.
However, being able to siphon gas can be important if you are in an emergency, on a long road trip, or even winterizing or performing maintenance on your vehicle.
For these reasons and more, it is important to know how to siphon gas from a car safely. Just make sure you use it for noble purposes and nothing nefarious.
Siphoning Is Useful
There are a few times when siphoning gasoline from your gas tank can be crucial. Two of the most common reasons are removing gas from a car that requires an empty tank to repair properly and winterizing a vehicle that is only being used on a seasonal basis.
In both instances, you will want to find a method to remove the old gas from the tank since gas can separate with time. The longer that gas sits in your car, the more its quality diminishes.
This lower-quality fuel can damage your vehicle when left to sit in your tank for too long. Those separated gas components are caustic, which can lead to damage different from gasoline.
Siphoning from your fuel tank can be useful if you ever get stuck. There are a few different methods, too. Let’s dive into each one.
What are the Different Methods of Siphoning Gas?
There are three ways to siphon gas from your fuel container/tank. In this article, we will go over all of the safest ways for you to siphon gas from your car. Choosing the proper method is necessary to keep you safe while preventing potential damage to your car and fuel tank.
If possible, try only the first method. The other two can be potentially dangerous to your health if you do them incorrectly.
Using a Siphon Tool
The safest way to siphon gas out of a fuel tank for maintenance is with professional tools designed for such use. These tools will result in the safest siphoning, much safer than pumping gas out of the car with tubing, air, and your mouth.
These professional tools, such as a siphon pump, are generally better for the newer vehicles on the market since most new cars have protection systems to prevent siphoning.
Bonus- they also protect from potential gasoline contamination in your gas tank.
The cool thing about professional siphons is that they come in many different lengths and sizes. That said, they will come with a tube of some sort and a hand pump attached to a tube to help start the siphon. The hand pump can also come in various types, but most are single-directional pumps meant only to pull one way.
The good news is that it is quite easy to determine which side goes into the gas tank. That is because there are different nozzles for the container you are siphoning into and the gas tank itself.
Start by inserting the gas tank nozzle in accordingly. Just ensure that it is inserted into the tank at a relatively deep distance so that you get the gas near the bottom of the tank if you want to drain it. Then place the nozzle into your container on the ground. Ensure that the container is lower than the gas tank (allow gravity to help) so the siphoning can happen properly.
You can use the hand pump to start the process when everything has been properly positioned. When the gas starts to flow, the siphon should do most of the work and won’t require the pump anymore.
Should you only need to siphon a little gas, keep an eye on your gas can so, you know how much has been siphoned from the car.
Overall, this is your safest option to siphon gasoline.
Air Pressure Siphoning
Not everyone has a professional siphon at their disposal. But if you have a long tube or even a pair of siphoning tubes, you can use air pressure to help siphon gas out of the tank.
For this method, you will need a pair of tubes. These are used to increase the amount of air pressure within the tank. This allows the gas inside to flow out and into your container.
It also helps to have either a flexible plastic cover or a rag to cover the fuel port so that you can help increase the overall air pressure in the tank. If you use the fabric of any kind, make sure that it is a little damp to create a better seal that won’t let as much air out.
Make sure to insert both tubes into the tank. Insert the other end of one of the tubes into your gas can. Using the other end of the other hose, blow air into the tank until the gas starts to flow. As soon as the flow starts, plug the tub using a finger or thumb.
You may need to add air a few times; it all depends on how much gas you are siphoning.
You should proceed carefully to minimize your risk of gasoline exposure.
This is maybe the most well-known method of siphoning, but it is also one of the most dangerous. There is a good chance that you have seen this method on television and in movies. Proceed with extreme caution.
Mouth siphoning should only be used if there is truly no other alternative. Maybe if you don’t have tubes or the ones you have aren’t long enough, use the air pressure method. If you can find any other way of siphoning gas, go with that one and avoid this one altogether.
For mouth siphoning, you start by inserting one end of a tube into the gas tank. Put the gas can on the ground right in front of you. Then, using your mouth, pull gas out of the tank and into the tube. Just be careful to monitor the tube since the gas can move quickly. You don’t want to get any gas in your mouth if you can help it.
As soon as you see that gas is starting to come up through the tube, plug it quickly and make the transfer into the gas can.
The good news is that the siphon should work until the tank has either emptied or the pressure inside of the tank has equalized with the gas that is in your gas can.
Warning: Should you inhale gas fumes or wind up with any gasoline in your mouth, it is important to contact local poison control. Don’t swallow or breathe gas under any circumstances, as it can result in gasoline poisoning. Gasoline poisoning is quite severe and should be treated with medical attention as soon as possible.
The Final Word
Though there is a misconception that gas is only siphoned if it is stolen, there are many useful reasons to do so. The key is to make sure you siphon the gas in a safe way that doesn’t cause damage to the car, the gas tank, or you.
The next time you run errands, make sure to grab a siphoning tool if you think there is any reason you may need it in the future. That can be tough to predict, but having a siphoning tool not only means keeping your car safe but assures you won’t potentially inhale toxic fumes or gasoline.
Should you be in a position where there is no other recourse, there are several effective methods for siphoning gas from most older cars. Where new vehicles are concerned, you may have more difficulty given the anti-siphoning tools built into most modern models.
Whatever the case, it is important that you proceed with extreme caution when siphoning gasoline. Go the extra mile and take the necessary steps to ensure everything is done safely.