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Clank Clank Chug-HELP!

A few days ago, my 2002 Land Rover Discovery ran out of gas. I’ve never run out of gas before and when I called AAA and found out that it was just a gas problem my relief outweighed any embarrassment I had about the situation. The AAA guy and I filled the car up and poof- I was on my way…

Since then, the check engine light has come on and although the car runs great when it gets going, it’s the getting going part that has become tricky. When I turn the key to start the car, it makes a clank clank chug sound. To get it going, I have to step on the gas and turn the key at the same time. If I do that, the car runs as normal and everything is fine.

If it’s not apparent, I’m a girl and while I know that there are many women that know about cars, I am not one of them. I read the reviews for mechanics and have an appointment set. I just want to have an idea of whats going on when I go in so I don’t get swindled make my wallet clank and chug too.

Is it possible that because the car was out of gas, that something else got burned up or junk got into the engine? I really don’t have any idea how a car works but I’m imagining a empty tank that is supposed to feed into something and if nothing is there couldn’t residue in the tank get sucked into the thing that it is supposed to feed?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I truly need all the advice I can get.

Thank you.

Your hypotheses is very likely correct. Fuel pumps have kind of a neat design in that while they’re pumping gas, they’re using that gas as coolant to keep the pump from overheating. If you run out of gas, the fuel pump sits there trying to pump with no coolant, building up heat. That’s why running out of gas is potentially a bigger deal than just being embarrassed on the side of the road - your fuel pump can be damaged as a result. If yours was damaged so that it’s not pumping as hard as it used to, it could cause the symptoms you’re describing.

The other possibility is that when you run out of gas, you’ve been pulling gas from the bottom of the tank, where all the sediment and other assorted crud settles over the years. Your fuel pump might have gotten a snootfull of junk, with the same result - it’s unable to pump as well as before.

thank you! i had that thought conceptually just didnt have the words to match or an idea of how everything functioned. makes sense though, a pump connecting to the fuel…called a fuel pump. now i just need to determine coolant or crud. thank you again for taking time to reply. i really appreciate it.

Take A Ride To The Nearest National Chain Type Autoparts Store. Advance Auto Parts And Autozone Are Two That We Have In This Neck Of The Woods, For Example.

A friendly counterwoman/counterman there, at your request, should go with you to the parking lot carrying a handheld code reader.

Modern cars have OBD2 technology (an industry standard) computers that control the engines and transmissions and they can also turn on the “Check Engine” light if a problem is detected. The computer stores information about the detected problem in the form of DTCs (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) to help a technician (or savvy owner).

Free of charge (they hope to make you a customer) many of these stores will plug their reader into your Rover and retrieve the DTCs for you. They will probably ask you to turn your key to the “on” position when they’re ready. Have a pencil handy and write down the code(s) exactly as presented. They should be in a format like PO455, PO123, etcetera.

The friendly folks may offer advice to you about the codes, but post them here on this Car Talk thread and we’ll also try and advise you on the situation.

We’ll be standing by.


" . . . when you run out of gas, you’ve been pulling gas from the bottom of the tank, where all the sediment and other assorted crud settles over the years."

I’ve always been curious when I hear people say this. Tell me where are you “pulling the gas” from when you’re not running out of gas over the years ?

My cars have just one fuel pick-up (with screen) and it’s on the bottom of the tank.


P.S. Is this like the Donner Party thing where everything was cool until they started running out of food ?