Friday, June 15, 2007

Out of Gas

I have been driving since I was a junior in high school. Until I graduated from college I never owned a new car. Most of my vehicles were old and tended to break down a lot. In addition of less than reliable vehicles I never had a lot of disposable income so I seldom filled up my gas tank. This combination meant that several times I was left with a car that wasn't doing a very good job of getting me where I wanted to go.

To the best of my memory I have run out of gas while driving four times in my life. None of them in the last 25 years. The furthest from home that I ever ran out of gas was about 2 miles. Three of those times I ran out of gas on my way to the gas station.

The last few days I have needed to put gas in my truck. But I just hadn't gotten around to stopping by the gas station. Unknown to me, my dear wife was driving around with her van in the same condition.

Last night my wife topped all my experiences with running out of gas. She ran out of gas in our garage.

She came home last night and just knew she was low on gas. But she got home and parked in the garage without incident. This morning she and my son were leaving to take Destruction to Cub Scout camp. The van would not start. After a couple tries my dear wife gave up and took my truck. That is when she discovered that my truck was running on fumes. Fortunately it had enough gas in it to get her to the fairgrounds and then the gas station.

Later in the morning when I finally dragged my lazy butt out of bed she told me that the van was not working. It was morning and I was tired but I none the less resisted the urge to shoot the van to take it out of its misery. So after sitting around for a little while hoping the problem would go away on its own I finally went out and took a look at the van.

I assumed that the problem was probably a bad battery. Here in the desert, if your car won't start, a heat damaged battery is the most common culprit. But the van turned over easily and quickly. My second fear was that the timing belt was broken. So I did what any guy would do. I opened the hood and stood there looking at the engine waiting for it to tell me what was wrong. After several minutes of poking around and pretending that I knew what I was doing no neon signs appeared to tell me what was wrong I gave up and shut the hood.

At this point my dear wife mentioned that she had been low on gas for a couple days. I figured that it probably wasn't a lack of gas since the van had worked just fine getting into the garage. But since I was out of ideas I decided it wouldn't hurt to try adding gasoline. Since I needed a new gas can and gas for the lawn mower I took my newly fueled truck to the store and picked up a new gas can and a funnel. Then I put three gallons of gas in my new can and headed home.

My dear wife operated the brakes in the car so I could push it farther into the garage so I could get to the gas cap. Then I poured about two thirds of my gas into the car.

Then I had my dear wife give it a try. After two pumps on the accelerator to prime the fuel pump and a couple tries the old van started up.

Amazing. I have never known anyone before who ran out of gas with the car sitting in the garage.

My dear wife is a little embarrassed, mostly because I keep teasing her about it. But I pointed out that this was a cheap problem to fix. Any of my other fears would have been much more expensive.

So until my children start driving I have to award my dear wife the championship running out of gas situation in our family.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While delivering produce in a two-ton truck, I ran out of gas three feet from the loading dock. Neither I or the place I was delivering to had a ramp. I had to wait an hour for another driver to come with some gas so I could back-up three feet and deliver the produce.

Alan Mortensen
Las Vegas, NV