There are a few ways to siphon gas, but not all are created equal. Two safe methods for siphoning gas include using a specialized pump or creating pressure in the gas tank. With the right know-how, both processes are quite simple.
When you think of gas siphoning, you may think of criminals stealing fuel from parked vehicles. But—believe it or not—there are several legitimate reasons you may need to siphon gas from your car’s fuel tank.
Here to go through the two safest and most effective ways for siphoning gas from your car—and to warn you about unsafe methods—is
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How to siphon gas from your car
There are two effective methods for siphoning—or removing—gas from your vehicle’s fuel tank. Keep in mind that these methods may not work if your vehicle has a special anti-siphon valve or barrier (although, this barrier may be able to be held open using something like a screwdriver).
Using a siphon pump
You can purchase specialized siphon pumps at your local auto supply shop or on Amazon. They may cost as little as $10 to $15.
A wide variety of pumps are available, including automatic pumps and hand-powered pumps. Either way, the tool is fairly simple, designed specifically to prevent exposure to dangerous gasoline vapors.
Once you purchase an appropriate siphon pump of your choice, follow these step-by-step directions to siphon your gas:
Place a sealable gas can on the ground beneath your car’s gas tank.
Run the tubing of the siphon pump from the gas tank to the gas can, being sure to insert the correct end of the hose into the correct receptacle.
If you have an automatic pump, turn it on and follow the manufacturer’s directions for how long the pump must remain on throughout the siphoning process.
If you have a manual hand pump, gently squeeze the inflatable pump a few times, until gas begins to flow freely.
Once the flow of gas begins into the gas canister, gravity should take over and hand pumping will no longer be necessary.
When you near your desired stopping point, raise the end of the siphon hose—or the entire gas container, itself—to stop the flow.
Allow excess gasoline to drain back into your vehicle’s gas tank before removing the gas siphon pump, closing the gas canister, and replacing the gas cap on your vehicle.
Creating pressure in the gas tank
If you don’t have access to a pump or siphoning kit, don’t worry! There’s another easy way to siphon gasoline without any highly specialized tools.
All you need (in addition to a gas tank) is plastic tubing that’s 1 inch in diameter. Clear tubing is preferable, so you can see the gasoline move through it, but opaque tubing will work if it’s all you have available.
You’ll need two different lengths of tubing: one long tube that can reach deep into your gas tank and another shorter tube that will reach just inside the tank.
Once you have your clear hose ready, follow these steps:
Set a gas canister on the ground beneath your vehicle’s gas tank.
Feed the longer tube deep into your gas tank, fully submerged in the gasoline. To check, carefully blow air into the other end of the tube and listen for bubbles—just be extremely cautious to not inhale any gas fumes. Place the other end of the tube in your gas container.
Feed the shorter tube just a few inches into the tank, next to the other tube you’ve already inserted.
Use a rag to create a seal around both tubes, increasing the air pressure in the tank. The rag must create a tight seal without pinching the tubing and interrupting your fuel line. If you struggle to create a tight seal, dampen the rag and ring it out first.
Once sealed, use your mouth to force air into the shorter tube. Gasoline will begin to flow out of the longer tube and into the gas canister.
Once the gas is freely flowering, gravity will take over. Allow the canister to fill to the desired level before lifting the tubing to stop the flow of gas.
How NOT to siphon gas from your car
A third common method is called mouth siphoning—but we do NOT recommend doing this because there is a high risk of swallowing gasoline or inhaling vapors.
Mouth siphoning requires just one clear tube, long enough to be submerged into the gas tank while still reaching a gas canister that’s placed on the ground. Do not place the free end of the tube into the gas can—instead, place it into your mouth.
Carefully suck the tubing like a straw, watching the fuel flow through the clear tubing. Before the gas reaches the end, crimp or pinch the tube to hold the fuel in place. Then, quickly insert the end of the tube into the gas can, releasing the crimp and allowing for the flow of gas. Once again, do not raise the tubing until your can has reached desired fullness.
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When would you need to siphon gas?
Now that you know how to siphon gas, let’s discuss why you might need to. There are several possible circumstances.
First, you may need to remove contaminated fuel from your vehicle. Or, you may want to remove gas as part of your winterization process.
You may also need to use that gas for an emergency. Perhaps you’re experiencing a power outage and need a bit of extra gas to power your generator. Or, maybe a friend has broken down far away from a nearby gas station and you want to give them some of your fuel.
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