Knowing how to siphon gas from any kind of vehicle will be extremely important in any SHTF situation. Gas stations will not be always functional in case of a local SHTF scenario, so you would be better off knowing what your alternatives for fuel are and how to get them.
You have two options for siphoning gas out from a newer car, either through the gas valve or by starting the fuel pump of the car. Most cars either have a butterfly valve or a ball valve, butterfly valves can be pried open with a plastic or a wooden tool. On the other hand, ball valves are extremely hard to open, so your best option will be to remove the fuel pump relay and start the car’s fuel pump which will allow you to siphon gas out.
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The ability to get fuel after a major SHTF event is extremely important, in larger scale SHTF events you will not have the ability to buy fuel from anywhere. You might think that you could barter for additional fuel, but odds are there will be no rule of law, and people once they realize this will think that it is a “free for all”, and they are not wrong. You could also store a lot of fuel in some well-ventilated part of your home, however sooner or later you will have to find additional fuel.
Siphoning gas out of a newer car is harder than you think, for older cars it is pretty easy, just put a hose in the gas tank and siphon it out. However you can not do this with modern cars, most of these have electronic locking mechanisms on the gas tanks and they also have a rollover safety feature. The rollover safety feature is there to prevent gas from leaking after a crash, this is a good preventative system although it makes siphoning gas out of them a lot harder. Generally speaking, the best cars to siphon gas from are older cars built before 2010.
In case of an EMP blast, there will be thousands of cars abandoned on the road, as the electrical devices and sensors will be destroyed the vehicle will be no longer operational. The bright side is that all these cars contain more or less fuel, all you have to do is to siphon it out. You probably will not be the only one to think of siphoning gas out from the abandoned cars, but most people will try to siphon it out the old way, which no longer works with modern cars.
If you have read my article Does an EMP affect batteries? ( Can they survive? ), then you probably already know that some car batteries will also survive, most likely in older model cars.
Step 1. Identify the type of valve the newer car has
Some might say that you need to look into the owner’s manual, but not everybody has the manual. The type of valve your car has will determine how you will actually siphon out the gas. Generally speaking, there are two types of valves, ball valves, and butterfly valves. No matter what kind of valve your car is using you should not force it too much as you might break the valve which is the last thing you would want.
If you open up the gas tank you will notice a ball where you fuel the tank. This is both a safety measure and an anti-siphon device, generally speaking, you will have a hard time brute-forcing the ball valve in order to siphon gas out. In this case, you have to make the car work for you. Do not waste your time trying to siphon out gas manually with a ball valve, the only way to do it manually is to bash in the ball valve and that takes a lot of force.
Some gas tanks use the butterfly valve, this is like a small door that lets the gas go in but it doesn’t let it out. However, you can brute force your way through this with a non-conductive material. Use a plastic or wooden tool to prie open the valve, make sure that the tool is wider than the hose with which you will siphon out the gas. If you are wondering which vehicles are the best for a bug out situation then check out my recent article Best bug out vehicle for EMP ( Top 26 ).
Step 2. Siphon gas through the valve
With some luck, you can manually siphon the gas out right through the valve. Just keep in mind that your goal is not to damage the valve, so you have to apply some force but you have to be extra careful not to damage the valve. Generally speaking, the below-mentioned method works best with butterfly valves. If you have a ball valve or you simply can not siphon out the gas through the valve then continue to step 3 and let the car do the work for you.
- Use a plastic or wooden tool to prie open the valve, make sure that the tool is wider than the hose with which you will siphon out the gas.
- Keep the tool in place and insert the hose.
- Apply some suction force to it and let gravity work for you, always place your gas canister lower than the height of the gas tank.
- Once you have siphoned out all the gas, remove the hose and the tool with which you pried open the valves.
- Make sure that the valve is fully closed after you are done with the job.
Step 3. Open the fuel rail of the car
All cars have a fuel rail, usually, these are right above the injectors and all of them have a pressure release valve that is protected by a cap. This is similar to the pressure release valve to the tires, and you can use the same tools to get the cap off. Once you have screwed the cap off make sure to remove the valve, this is a small object so make sure you do not lose it, or else the car will not work after.
When you take out the valve you might hear a silent “tsss” this is normal as the valve is there to hold pressure, once it is removed there is no more pressure. If you have some mechanical siphon you could try to siphon out the gas, but odds are that you will not be able to do it, the same is for siphoning manually.
Step 4. Remove the fuel pump relay from the car
Here comes the tinkering part, once you have found the fuel pump relay, generally these are either right under the dash or under the hood. Once you have found it, remove it and you will notice that the relay has several ports. Identify which are the negative and positive ports, these will be marked with symbols like “-” for negative and “+” for positive. Now all you have to do is to put a piece of wire back in the fuel pump fuse sucket from where you picked out the fuse in such a way that the wire goes in both of the negative and positive ports.
When you are doing this make sure that the car is not running as you might get electrocuted. Once the wire is in place this will allow the fuel pump to work properly if you do not take out the fuse and replace it with the wire the car once started will stop in a matter of seconds and you will not be able to siphon out any gas. If it is not working you have probably not placed the wire in the right slot and you probably have triggered the onboard CPU which will stop the fuel pump from working after a few seconds.
Step 5. Start the fuel pump of the car
All modern cars have a fuel pump, and this is what you are going to use to siphon out the gas. If you have set up the wire correctly then the fuel pump should also work as intended. Make sure that before you start the car is that you have already attached a hose to the fuel rail which leads into a gas canister. It is very important that this hose fits the fuel rail and it is not loose as once you start the car the fuel pump will start pumping fuel through the fuel rail and into your gas canister through the hose.
How to siphon gas out from one car to another?
For this method to work you have to make sure that the gas tank from which you are siphoning out the gas is on a higher elevation than the gas tank which you are feeding. Notice I did say gas tank and not the actual car should be on a higher elevation, as some cars have a higher center of gravity and their gas tanks are also on a higher elevation. SUV’s, in general, have one of the highest elevated gas tanks, so if you come across an SUV and you have a smaller car you should not have any problems siphoning gas from one car to another provided that the SUV has either no anti-siphon filter or you have the knowledge on you to open it.
In case you own an SUV and try to siphon gas out from a smaller car then it is very important that you actually position your SUV on a lower elevation, this way gravity will work for you and not against you. The anti-siphon device on the gas tank of some cars will make this extremely difficult. If you want to know how to protect yourself from solar flares then check out my recent article How to protect yourself from solar flares ( Cheap & Easy ).
Word of caution
The above practices should only be used for your own vehicles, siphoning gas out from other people’s cars is theft and you will face serious jail time.
Siphoning gas out from newer cars is a lot more difficult than you might expect. The knowledge on how to do it will be vital in any SHTF situation, you will never know when you have to get extra gas. Just keep in mind that siphoning gas out from other people’s cars is illegal and you will face serious jail time, so don’t be stupid.