Q: Car ran out of gas and multiple repairs resulted

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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.

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