How to Siphon Gas Without Damaging Newer Vehicles

The other day I received this e-mail on siphoning gas from cars:

While doing some maintenance work on my gasoline powered electrical generator, the thought struck me that back in the old days, and in case of an emergency, one could always siphon gasoline out of their cars gasoline tank and use it to run things like generators. However, that seems to be not the case nowadays. I tried inserting a conventional siphon hose into my tank but it bottomed-out on some obstruction before it touched any gasoline. I looked under the hood of my car (2001 Toyota Highlander) for a place where I could tie into my fuel line. I found none.

A cursory examination of the bottom of my fuel tank revealed no drain plug. So, I went to a local auto parts store and asked the folks if they had anything to siphon or pump fuel from the tank on any modern car or pickup truck. They had no suggestions.”

Siphoning fuel from a gas tank was easy

In the past, I can remember when we used to siphon gas out of our gas tanks to fuel our lawn mowers or other small engines. Siphoning gas out of the older vehicles was easy, but when was the last time you tried to siphon gas out of a car?

It has been years since I have tried. In a real disaster, like an EMP strike, obtaining gas from damaged vehicles may be necessary to keep older vehicles running when a gas station may not be available.  This got me wondering how to siphon gas from the new cars.

NOTE: Wondering if any vehicles will still be operating after an EMP? Be sure to read my note at the bottom of this article. If you’ve read One Second After, you may be surprised by my findings.

A little research into modern-day siphoning revealed that all new cars have an anti-rollover valve on all the openings in a gas tank. These valves, also known as anti-siphon valves, act as a siphon prevention system. This is the reason why nearly all the siphon devices and pumps sold these days are useless. However, there is a way to do it without damaging the vehicle if you have the right tools.

Most gas thieves today simply drill a hole in the gas cap, take what they can, and let the rest run out on the ground.

But there is another way.

The anti-rollover valve is a ball or butterfly valve. This leaves enough room for gas to flow through the fueling tube into the tank, but if the car flips over and gas begins to flow the other direction, the ball moves to the inlet and blocks the gas from escaping or the butterfly flap closes.

Small pumps like this one will make siphoning gas a lot quicker.

How to Siphon Gas in Newer Cars

Step one – gather special tools and insert them into the gas tank

The trick to siphoning gas without damaging the vehicle is to use small diameter, stiff hose like the ¼-inch hose that runs to your refrigerator ice maker. Cut the end at a sharp angle and spin, or “corkscrew”, the hose as you insert it. It may take you a few tries to master this.

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Step two – create pressure in the gas tank

You can create pressure in the gas tank by sucking air through the tube. Siphoning works by sucking air through the tube.

You don’t want to blow air into the gas tank because blowing air doesn’t get the gas flowing through the clear tube.

Step three – place the other end of the hose in a container to transfer fuel

When you’ve sucked the gas into the tube, you’ll be able to see it. Place the other end of the tube in a gas receptacle. Depending on the air pressure inside the tank, the gas flow may be quick. Be careful of swallowing gasoline, inhaling gasoline fumes, or gasoline poisoning when sucking air through the clear tubing to get the remaining gas.

Now, siphoning gas through this small tube by gravity is slow and can take up to eight minutes for a gallon of gas. If you can find a small hose with a hand pump like this one, it can go much faster.

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You may want to carry a longer hose for vehicles that will accept it. Just remember that stealing gas or tampering with a gas pump is illegal and should be avoided.

Stop siphoning when you reach the desired amount, or fill your container. If you have excess gas, you may find that the excess turns into bad gas, because gas can go bad after a while!

Siphoning gas in a post EMP world

Almost every reader of One Second After is convinced that virtually every vehicle on the road will suddenly stall and be incapacitated forever. Dr. Arthur T. Bradley, NASA electronic engineer and author of Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, disagrees.

He says there are so many variables that will affect whether or not the electromagnetic surge will damage vehicles that he believes only 30% or so will be damaged. The rest may experience a slight glitch and then resume running. This doesn’t mean transportation will be a piece of cake in a post-EMP world. With millions of vehicles stranded on every type of road, bridge, and tunnel imaginable, transportation would still be difficult.

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30 thoughts on “How to Siphon Gas Without Damaging Newer Vehicles”

  1. my moms car was hit—the rubber line off the tank someone added a “T” connection & a valve & cap so they could use a portable pump on it any time (night) thinking she wouldn’t figure it out. during a Vehicle inspection they found it-.they repaired it. soon, hit again. but she had a out door camera. GOT THEM.

  2. Nice article. I have some tubing from a refrigerator we bought a while back. Think I will try it. Nice Disclaimer. Haha

  3. My fuel pump went out right after I filled up my tank. In order for me to replace the pump, I have to drop the fuel tank, which meant I had to drain the tank first. After trying a garden hose, I took your suggestion. The important part is cutting the end to a sharp point. It couldn’t work unless I did that. Thanks for the info!

  4. Hmm, that was interesting. If you are bugging in, the time wouldn’t matter so much. You could just walk away and come back later. Having a longer hose, and putting the gas can all the way on the ground, would help because it would give more gravity to the situation.

    Oh, and the hardware store is full of cheap hoses of all different diameters. I just bought one for my aquarium protein skimmer. The old one got aged and stiff.

  5. Though the experience of having gas stolen from my gas tank while I had the vehicle in storage, I found out that there is a connection to the gas tank of a 2003 Odyssey that can be disconnected to drain the gas tank. I haven’t gotten under to look but when I took the vehicle in to have it checked after the gas was stolen that’s what the mechanic told me. Don’t know about other vehicles, just the 2003 Odyssey.

    1. How did you drain it? Does it have a capless gas tank, thos have anti siphon filters. I need to drain a 2013 eclipse that’s been sitting 3 years

  6. Christian Gingras

    The pipe that connect to the fuel injector is easy to disconnect safely. You need to put the container close, which mean above the level in the gas tank.
    Turn the key to “run” (don’t start the motor). The gas pump will run for 2 seconds. Turn key to off, then run, you get another 2 second worth of gas. Repeat until you fill your container.
    A more efficient method would be to identify the relay for the fuel pump, remove it from the socket and insert a wire between the pin that correspond to the relay contact. The fuel pump would work continuously.

    1. Be very careful doing that. All fuel pumps are lubricated by the fuel itself. I would avoid draining all the fuel so that you don’t run the pump dry and damage it. It’s not easy replacing a fuel pump bc engineers decided it is more efficient placing the fuel pump in the fuel tank. It’d be a really old vehicle for it to be outside the fuel tank.

      1. But at least the tank will already be empty, and lots of cars still use external fuel pumps like chevys eco-tech or the Koreans GDI cars

        1. The GDI cars actually have two fuel pumps. The low pressure pump is in the tank and the high pressure pump is on top of the engine and powered by a camshaft. The high pressure pump cannot pull the fuel from the tank.

    2. On the older chevys you can just take a Schrader valve tool like you use for the tire cores and unscrew the core out of the fuel pressure test port and hook a hose to that and jump relay number 18

  7. charlers scarmardi

    I having problems draining gas out of my 2017 mustang and I cant get the 1/4 inch holes past the ball valve at the bottom into the gas tank.I taper the end of the hose an d still having a problem.

    1. I think Fords use something like a butterfly system instead of the ball. That may be the issue, call parts store and ask what part is there. Good luck!

      1. My son is down in Fort Myers Florida right now during this hurricane he has enough gas for tomorrow for his generator for her to run the refrigerator and gas stations open how can he get it out of his Mitsubishi without causing damage

  8. Well I just had my gas stolen and I am not happy that it is so easy to do and freely discussed, I have to live on a very small SS check

  9. I own a 2005 ford freestar. Visit family on an island where gas is $1-2+ more a gallon. Would like to siphon gas from vehicle in a most convenient manor. In fact found a gas pump handle on CL for $10, not sure if it will be useful or help bypass butterfly valve.

  10. so when most tanks are dropped during repairs they dont drain most of the gas first? at 20 gallons that’s 120 lbs I realize they do this with a lift but still that’s a lot to transport

    1. Auto tech here, we use rolling transmission jacks for this it’s really not a big deal the good ones have adjusters that will balance out uneven loads

    1. How did it get pushed in? I think that is what my issue is with my 2010 Edge. My son placed the floor jack under the gas tank by mistake and put a good sized dent in the tank. Is the anti-rollover valve part of the fuel pump?

  11. Manufacturers have special tools called fuel drain hoses to get past the fuel tank check valve. For example a 2014 Chevrolet Equinox requires GM-45004. They recommend lubricating the hose with Transjel lubricant or equivalent. The tool costs about $145. GM recommends getting down to A max of 3 gallons to remove the fuel tank. They don’t say why. For that much money I will just drop the tank full withy a jack then get the gas out on the ground with the fuel pump out. The tank has to be flushed anyway. As for getting gas from disabled cars, it could be quite an investment to buy special tools for various manufacturer’s fill tube widget bypass tools.

  12. Buy an electric fuel pump, the type that mounts outside the fuel tank. Extend the wires so they will reach the car battery, add some alligator clips. Install lengths of tubing to the pump as described in previous posts. This method works great to transfer fuel between vehicles or equipment. I put a switch and an inline filter on my setup and mounted the filter to a piece of wood for stability.

  13. I had to leave the quarter inch siphon hose inside the gas tank of my ’95 chevy express van. Will it damage anything in the tank?

  14. anyone leaving real answers,? becuase we have to know what kindof valves our diff cars have, no. 1, and only a real and safe way, , sometimes you need to, safely siphon, the gas out of your car, or truck, and dont want to break anything, , , , can you hook up a longer, 14 inch stiff , refridge line or aquarium line to the , lower tube on the hand pump tubes, , and it must be secured to that hose real good, before id even attempt it. , anyone with more details, this info is for us, in real world, not thieves and criminals, will check back frequently to see if any of the other posters got there answers, thanks god bless.

  15. I know that a lot of new ford’s supply a short slightly tapered pipe with new vehicles you insert this in the filler neck so you can bypass the anti syphon valve, it’s the only way you can use a fuel can to refill if you run out of fuel as a fuel can filler pipe is too flexible to bypass the valve, you could also, I presume insert it for siphoning out of the tank. I am trying to buy one on ebay but I’m damned if I can find the right combination of words to do a search, so if anyone knows what it’s called will you please let me know

  16. Hello Ruth, I knew if I scrolled down far enough through the long and thorough list of comments, questions, tips, etc. that had been left by the various website visitors in regards to siphoning gasoline that were looking for a way to bypass the butterfly valve I would eventually come to the comment that was asking the very exact question that I came from across the internet to answer just for you Ruth, and anyone else that was wondering….Does anyone leave real answers? Well, I’m happy to answer this for you ALL! The answer is a plain and simple NO. Not a chance Ruth! So save yourself some time by skipping the whole, “check back frequently” part! God bless us everyone! -Love, Tiny Tim

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