CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Water in gas?

So, first thing the car started fine-temp here about 60 degrees-drove 3 miles after the car sat for about 20 minutes- temp about 78 degrees, it started right up and then started to die- i ws able to keep it going by quickly and repeatedly pumping the gas pedal. It idled ok afater about 3 minutes- i opened the gas tank- no whoose sound. I made about 4 more stops and ait was always ok after that. Tank was 1/2 full. It is a manual shift 97 saturn wagon. Thanks for your help

what made you think it was water in the gas???

This sounds to me more like a case of a heat sensitive component that water in the gas. Could also be a dying gas pump. On a car this age lots of things are possible.

Year, miles, maintenance history, and overall condition would be an enormous help. This could also be from a badly overdue tuneup.

97-104,300 miles. I take it to the shop every 6 months and have him check everything and get the oil changed. They can never get it to do the stalling thing when I take it in and say there is water in the tank. I’ll ask about the gas pump- how would they know if it is dying? I ask them about tune ups and they tell me it runs good.

They can test the pump by simply checking the fuel line pressure.

A heat sensitive component can be harder to find unless it’s acting up. There are prime candidates, and with the careful use of a heat gun they can be checked.

Another possibility is to put the car on an analyzer. Basically, it’ll show various outputs like the spark pulses and those can be very revealing of a failing part that’s not verifiable with a simple tuneup. If it’s simply an intermittant failure it can be a bear to find.

thanks. I’ll take it in on Monday and se what comes up.