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2004 Buick Park Avenue - Car won't start after adding gas

I ran out of gas and put gas in the car and now it won’t start

You may have caused your fuel pump to die. Fuel is a coolant and lubricant for the pump internals.

Turn the keynto the ON position but don’t crank it. Can you hear the hum of the pump from under the rear seat? No? Failed pump. You hear a hum? Could be a number of things but I’d suggest a crankshaft position sensor.


If the car is parked on any kind of slope, you may not have put in enough gas.


Another reason might be that running a vehicle with low fuel levels a lot allows sediment to be created. Letting tank go to empty allows sediment to concentrate at fuel pick up. This can get through the screen and into the filter. If you can hear the fuel pump turn on for a few seconds when turning the ignition to the run position, turn the key off. Then turn the key on to the run position ( not crank position) leave it in the run position for 5 seconds or until the pump stops. Turn the key off. Repeat this 3 or 4 times. Then if it fires or starts, you may have a plugged fuel filter. Of course to confirm this a fuel pressure gage is needed. At this point, if it starts or fires you can change the fuel filter. No harm because it should be replaced anyways. If you need to change the fuel pump, the filter needs to be replaced also.


Try the “key dance” to bring fuel and fuel pressure up to the engine turn key to Run (not all the way to Start.) The fuel pump should run for a couple seconds. You may hear it. Back to Off then to Run. Do this on-off a few times and then turn the key all the way to Start.

Agree with the others but it can take a while, and just hope the pump isn’t shot or it’ll be an expensive tank of gas. In Minnesota you can get a ticket for running out of gas on the freeway.

Is the tank at least half full now? And it won’t start? Do you mean it cranks ok , that rrr rrr rrr sound w/key in “start”, but it won’t catch and run? If so, sounds like a fuel supply problem of some kind. A fuel pressure test would tell right away if that’s the problem. There’s a couple of weird possibilities

  • running out of gas can damage the cat, and if the cat were totally blocked now, that could cause the car not to start. I’m not sure the mechanism of how running out of gas damages the cat, but apparently such a thing is possible.

  • there may be a problem in the evap system that is forcing gas fumes into the engine during the fill-up. they’re supposed to go into the charcoal canister. This might happen only when you put a lot of gas in the tank all at once, for example after running out of gas.