Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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.

A: As you may already know, your car's fue...

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?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
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・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: My truck won't rev past 1000 RPM

The mass air flow sensors are known to go bad on Nissan Titans. The symptoms you are describing point to the MAF not working properly. Check to be sure you have reconnected the new one correctly, proper continuity and grounds....

Q: Car overheats, usually in the stop and go traffic

The problem may be due to the hydraulic cooling fan not working intermittently. There is a technical bulletin number 1-21-11 that says to replace the cooling fan hydraulic motor, which should correct the overheating problems. Your fan may work but...

Q: What can I do to get my car running? It tries to crank and start but it struggles.

If the car is cranking strong with the new starter, and just won't fire up, it's time to re-check the basics. Check for a good spark at the plugs. If spark is good, try spraying a bit of starter fluid...

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...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...