About a year ago, my wife came in the house and said her car, a 2002 Honda Accord wouldn’t start. I went out and tried it and the car would turn over, but not light. So I checked the spark plugs and they were sparking. I checked through the oil cap to see that the valves I could see were moving and they were. The serpentine belt is turning and there were no obvious problems under the hood. The gas gauge indicated about a 1/4 tank but I thought I should put some more gas in it just to be sure. Sure enough, it started.
So then I figured I had a bad sending unit. I pull the sending unit out of the fuel tank and ohmed it against the book values and it checked out perfectly. I even fitted a replacement sending unit to double check and it indicated the exact same thing.
I did think it was extremely odd that she ran out of gas in the garage without even knowing it but I figured it was a mysterious fluke and that maybe the instrument cluster had a problem.
Today, about a year later, the exact same thing happened. Now what are the odds of it running out of gas AGAIN in the garage? The fuel gauge read about a 1/4 tank again and, just like before, when I put fuel in it the car started right up.
Before I change the gauge cluster, I had a thought. What if there is water in the fuel tank? The gauge could be reading a 1/4 tank but maybe that 1/4 tank isn’t fuel but water. The other interesting fact is that when she went to the gas station to top off right after this, the car only took 9 gallons. I only put about a gallon in the tank from a red can I had in the garage and I know that tank holds more than 10 gallons.
What the heck do you think is happening? And why only in the garage?