Q: Car ran out of gas and multiple repairs resulted

asked by on August 30, 2016

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.

Fuel Pump Replacement $129.49 - $1234.40 Get a Quote
Loss of power Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $70/hr

What others are asking

Mini Cooper S 2007 overheating? Stalled while starting up again then turned off. No dash symbols. Cannot rev. No steam or leaking.

Hi there. It's 100 degrees here in Phoenix at 11:00 pst, so I understand the extreme heat! What you are describing can be caused by multiple issues, ranging from a coolant system that is clogged with debris to a failing...

Nissan rouge 2013 slip light is on.

Hi there. Vehicles like yours have had the same issue with the brake master cylinder leaking brake fluid into the brake booster causing the fluid level to be low. This was turning on the Slip Indicator Light. Check your brake...

Horrible acceleration, horrible fuel mileage, and misfire codes.

Hello. First task is to extract any problem codes, whether the Check Engine is set or not. There are many things that can cause the symptoms you describe: injectors stuck open, or fuel pressure too high, coolant temperature sensor malfunctioning...

Car won't start - 1997 Lincoln Town Car

Hi there. You will need to check to see if the engine cool air aftermarket intake is connected correctly. Then check the engine for fuel pressure and spark to the engine. With aftermarket sensors and intake, it may be causing...

How do i get to my timing chain in my 2000 Lincoln ls 3.9L v8?

Hello there, The timing chain is in depth repair on your 2000 Lincoln LS. To get to the timing chain most of the engine accessories must be removed, the timing covers, valve covers, and various other parts. When removing the...

Fuel Gauge stuck on empty

The fuel gauge sender in the fuel tank or the fuel gauge is defective. You will need to disconnect the fuel sender on the fuel tank and then turn on key to see if gauge moves. If not then you...

Engine light came on and the gas cap is stuck

Hello. Your particular vehicle has what is known as the smart pin which will lock the gas when the vehicle itself is locked. If you unlock the vehicle with the key fob, the pin should disengage and you will be...

Automatic won't shift

It sounds like your shifter cable may have come loose. What happens over time the bushing for the the shifter cable that connects to the linkage on the transmission becomes worn and needs replacing because it will not stay connected....

Lost first and second gear

Due to the design of this vehicle it is common for the shift linkage connecting bushings to fail because they rot out and bind until they come apart. When this occurs the shifter cannot properly move the shift mechanism inside...

Related articles

How to Drop a Gas Tank
The The fuel tank on your car is typically located under the rear or middle of the vehicle. There can be a number of reasons why you would need to remove it; the most common reason is needing to replace...
How to Diagnose a Shaking Steering Wheel
An issue with your car's suspension or drive system will cause a shaking steering wheel. A tire and wheel out of balance can cause a vibration.
What Causes a Car to Shake?
You’re driving down the interstate, and as you come up to cruising speed, the steering wheel starts to vibrate in your hands. You grip...