Q: Car ran out of gas and multiple repairs resulted

asked by on

While loaning my car to a relative, he ran it completely out of gas and naturally it would not start. I went to help and added gasoline. Eventually we were able to get it started, but now the engine runs in terrible condition. It idles and the whole car shakes. The vehicle has no power at all. I can not even go up a 30 degree incline in first gear. Plus, the exhaust now seems louder than before. There is probably junk that got sucked into the fuel system, so I added some good fuel injection cleaner and filled up the car with gas; then drove it about 10 miles. However, it did not help; it still badly performs the same as before. The check engine light now flashes. I had a local auto store do a test and it showed a misfire. Another problem is that the catalytic converter glows red hot. There is probably excess gas getting to the converter, but I do not know where to start if that is a problem. The car is running, so I assume it is not the fuel pump causing a problem. I purchased a new fuel filter, but first I am waiting to see if the injection cleaner was any help at all. I’m also considering that it might be the coils, spark plugs, spark wires, or clogged fuel injectors. I can generally do most car repairs, except for motor-related repairs like pistons, fuel injectors, timing chains, etc. Would you please give me your advice if you think there are things that I can do myself to fix these problems.

As you may already know, your car’s fuel pump is cooled by the fuel in the tank. Fuel pumps do tend to generate a fair amount of heat and so naturally, when it does run dry, it can easily damage the pump causing problems with it pumping effectively. If this is the case in your situation, you may very well have a fuel pump that is not pumping enough.

The other issue relating to your catalytic converter being red hot points to it being plugged. This is almost always a cause for poor performance and the converter running red hot. This is most likely the main reason for the lack of power. As you know, this is your car’s way of dispelling excess unburnt fuel. If it is not able to do this properly, it otherwise has no way to relieve itself, thus causing the poor performance. If you need further help, a qualified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to inspect the loss of power firsthand and consult you with their repair.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Car ran out of gas and multiple repairs resulted

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Gas gauge is not working correctly

If the gauge pointer on the fuel gauge is registering incorrectly, or fluctuating excessively (it can move a little depending on vehicle angle and motion), there could be a problem with the sending unit in the gas tank, the dash...

Q: Loud metal screeching noise and vibration from pulley

Hello, thanks for writing in. For this particular vehicle it appears that the pulley and harmonic balancer are integrated into one unit. That means replacing either would be to replace both, as they are one part. If you would like...

Q: My car cranks, it's turning over but it won't start.

Hello there, many different faults can cause your 2005 Honda Element to not start. Though you hear the fuel pump, this does not necessarily mean it has enough fuel pressure to start the engine. The most common causes of no...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.