As a prepper, there are certain key skills that you should master. How to siphon gas from a car is one of them.
In our modern world, we have safety nets everywhere. Run out of gas in the middle of nowhere? Just call AAA for roadside assistance. You can find gas stations on every corner and businesses willing to bring you a few gallons of fuel in exchange for the price of gas and a small delivery fee.
While these conveniences are all well and good when society is running smoothly, but what happens when chaos erupts? If a widespread emergency should occur and all the gas is depleted, would you know how to get more? When these types of unexpected situations occur, knowing how to siphon gas from a car can become an invaluable skill.
Science Behind Car Siphoning
There’s a wrong way and a right way to siphon gas from a car. Doing it the wrong way could lead to aspiration, or gasoline entering your lungs. This can result in pneumonia, coma, or even death. When you learn the right way to siphon gas, you can move gasoline from a vehicle’s gas tank to a gas can safely and without a mouthful of fuel.
While there are several methods that can be used to siphon gas from a car, all three use the same basic principles. It’s all about achieving the right amount of air pressure, gravity, and liquid cohesion. Some methods use manual siphoning techniques, while others take advantage of pumps and similar equipment.
Either way, one end of a hose is inserted into a gas can while the other goes into the gas tank. With the gas can positioned lower than the height of the gas tank, gravity and air pressure in the tank causes the gas to enter the tube and flow down into the gas can. The gas will continue flowing until it’s depleted due to liquid cohesion and suction power.
Ways to Siphon Gas from a Car
You may not always have a siphon pump handy when the world comes crashing down around you. When stuck without any tools, equipment, or resources, you’ll have to make due with what you can find in your local vicinity.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have a gas siphon pump tucked away in your bug-out bag. Here we’ll cover the three main methods of siphoning gas from a car, starting with the safest and easiest method.
Method 1: Use a Siphon Pump
Let’s say that you truly are prepared and have a siphon pump with you when an emergency occurs. Gas siphon pumps are very affordable so they are definitely worth having in your bug-out bag.
You can find siphon pumps in a variety of styles. Some are automatic, while others are hand-powered. Both types work similarly by allowing you to easily and safely siphon gas from a car without risking exposure to harmful fumes.
Most siphon pumps feature a pump in the center of a length of tube that creates suction, pulling liquid from one end of the tube to the other.
Using a siphon pump is fairly straightforward. Start by placing your gas can or other type of receptacle on the ground directly below the gas tank. Next, insert one end of the tubing into the gas tank and the other end into the receptacle.
Many siphon pumps have specific ends that go into the tank and receptacle so be sure you have it set up correctly.
Depending on the type of siphon pump you own, you will need to start pumping to get the gas flowing down the tube. Some types of siphons have bulbs that you can squeeze to force the flow of gas, while others use a plunger mechanism that creates suction.
Once your receptacle is filled with gas, slowly raise it above the gas tank to allow any fuel left in the tubing to return to the tank.
Know that if you have a hand-operated siphon pump, it may take a few tries before the gas starts to flow. If you own a mechanical pump, siphoning gas from a car may be as easy as inserting the tubing and flipping a switch.
Some types of siphon pumps must be cleaned after use to prevent a buildup of debris that could potentially cause it to stop working. A mixture of soap and water is usually sufficient to clean a siphon pump. However, you should always read the instructions that came with your siphon pump.
Method 2: Add Pressure to the Tank
There are a couple basic ways to siphon gas from a car by adding pressure to the tank. The first involves manual suction, or siphoning gas using your mouth. With this method, the gas can is placed below the tank and a long plastic tube is inserted inside the tank, submerged in the fuel.
Create a loop in the tubing to help better manage the flow of gas. Take the other end of the tube and begin sucking carefully to create pressure inside the tank. When you see the gas start to flow towards the loop, quickly remove your mouth and put the end into the container.
This first method of adding pressure to the gas tank can be effective, but is generally not recommended unless you have absolutely no other options. You don’t want to accidentally ingest gasoline.
A safer option uses the same technique of adding pressure to the tank, but doesn’t involve using your mouth for suction. This second method requires two lengths of tubing that are about 1-inch in diameter and long enough to reach from the gas container on the ground to the gas tank.
One of the lengths of tubing should be longer than the other. The first should be long enough to reach deep in the gas tank, while the shorter length should be just long enough to reach inside the tank.
To add pressure to the tank, insert the longer tube into the gas tank and submerge it into the gasoline. Next, insert the smaller tube into the gas tank next to the longer one. Seal the space around the tubes with a piece of cloth (preferably damp) to create an airtight seal.
With the gas container on the ground under the gas tank, put the other end of the longer tube into receptacle. Blow air into the short length of tubing to create pressure inside the tank. As you blow, the pressure should build up enough in the tank to force the gas to go out of the longer tube and into the gas container.
Method 3: Siphon Modern Cars
Most car manufacturers have wised up to illegal gas siphoners who use the methods listed above to steal gasoline from unsuspecting victims. To prevent these types of crimes from happening, most modern vehicles are now equipped with siphon-proof filters built directly in the gas tank. These filters consist of a metal flap that shuts automatically if someone tries to push a hose into the tank.
While siphoning gas from a modern vehicle has become more challenging, it is certainly not impossible. With the right tools and a little determination, the job can be accomplished in just a few minutes.
To siphon the gas, you can use the same methods mentioned previously, which includes the siphon pump method or manual suction method. However, you will need to find a tool or object to help hold the metal flap open. Choose an object that will not break off into the gas tank.
You also want to avoid metal objects that can create a spark, such as a screwdriver. Carefully wedge the long object into the gas tank to hold the metal flap open enough that you can squeeze the tubing through.
If the car that you are trying to siphon has a ball-shaped valve, it can be nearly impossible to siphon using the methods above. For these types of vehicles, you may need to purchase a product designed exactly for this purpose.
Learning to Siphon Like a Pro
When faced with an emergency situation, knowing how to gain access to essential resources like gasoline can make a dramatic difference in your ability to survive.
Learning how to siphon gas from a car can be a useful skill whether you’ve pumped your car full of diesel instead of gasoline and need to get it out, or you need to siphon gas from deserted vehicles in a post-apocalyptic world.
Gas siphoning isn’t a skill for petty criminals alone. It can actually be quite useful in a variety of situations. It is important to understand that the methods above will not work on all gas tanks.
Many modern tanks are now fitted with special anti-siphoning devices that make it highly difficult to siphon gas. In addition, you want to use extreme caution when trying any method of gas siphoning as gasoline can be dangerous to handle.