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I thought I had a fuel exhaustion incident....maybe not?

Hey all, long time…

I have a 99 Accord, 158,000 miles, properly maintained…

Today I started my car after it had been sitting for an hour and when I pulled up to a stoplight I felt the car jerk and it looked like the RPM of the engine dropped to 0 for a split second, then continued to run, poorly. The amber “Maintenance Required” light clicked on, then off. I’m certain 100% it wasn’t the CEL.

I saw that my fuel gauge was on it’s peg and even though I suspected I had at least 2 gallons left (which proved to be correct), there was a gas station across the street so I elected to haul ass there and fill up as a precaution.

When I accelerated through the light, it was as if the car was stuck in second gear and lacked power…at this point I let off the gas and let the thing coast to the gas pump, the engine was running the whole time, though.

When I got to the pump, the engine continued to run, normally.

Long story short, I filled up the fuel tank and drove home uneventfully.

At first I thought I was on the brink of running my car out of fuel, but I pumped 15.1 gallons into a 17.1 gallon tank, so I can rule that out.

Then I thought perhaps the transmission had gone into limp mode, but again, no CEL and when I drove home it shifted fine, etc.

I can also rule out something with the engine itself so that leaves the fuel system and electronic ignition:
Distributor on the way out?

Fuel pump " " ?

Clogged fuel filter? (I haven’t had the filter(s) replaced since I bought the car, it had 118,000 miles when I bought it over 2 yrs ago)

Is it plausible that the 90+ degree temps and being out in the sun caused fuel to boil and create vapor problems? Fuel injected aircraft have this issue, but it mainly affects starting a hot engine…

Junk / water in the fuel tank / contaminated fuel issue?

What do you PROS think? I’m curious more than alarmed…I’m wondering if i’m likely to have this happen again?


"Is it plausible that the 90+ degree temps and being out in the sun
caused fuel to boil and create vapor problems?"

If that was the problem…people in Mexico would be seeing this problem daily during the summer. Plus our military would have a pretty hard time in the middle east where temps can exceed 120.