Will Letting the Gas Tank Run Dry Damage the Engine? – WSJ.com

28 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Will Letting the Gas Tank Run Dry Damage the Engine? – WSJ.com
Nissan Armada

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Updated June 24, 2008 11:59 p.m. ET

Q: My son called me last night to come bring him some gas for our 1998 Lincoln Town Car. He said he was afraid of running out before reaching the gas station and that if he ran dry, the fuel-injection system would be seriously damaged. I said he was nuts and to try to make it to the station and to call back only if he didn’t make it.

Was I right? (P.S. My wife chickened out and brought him a gallon in a can.)

— George Elmore,

Gainesville, Fla.

A: I think you were right. I’m not sure if your son was worried more about drawing air into the fuel injectors or drawing in sediment that may collect at the bottom of the tank.

But similar questions have come up before and I think the thing most people forget is that fuel systems typically draw from the bottom of the tank anyway, so there’s no avoiding any dirt that might accumulate there.

Concerning simply running dry, I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve had vehicles, both fuel injected and carbureted, that have run out of gas and the all started easily once I put fuel in the tank.

Q: We own a vacation home on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. You need to take a ferry to get there and because it’s difficult to get a car reservation many people leave a car on the island. We’d like to do the same and are looking for something that can seat about eight people. We’d like a used car that can stand up to unpaved roads and off-road conditions.

Any suggestions? We were thinking about maybe a Chevrolet Suburban, a minivan, or an older Honda Pilot.

— Mike Keyles,

Short Hills, N.J.

A: Any of the vehicles you mention would be fine for the job. The Nissan Armada would work, though not as fuel efficiently as the Pilot. You might also consider a used full-size van like the Ford E-150 or Chevrolet Express, which is available with all-wheel drive that would help on the beach. Large passenger vans are roomier than minivans and are better suited for carrying adults and cargo.

They can also be great buys on the used market. I wouldn’t want one as everyday transport, but they might be a good fit for the island.

Q: Does anyone make an SUV with a fold-flat back seat and enough power to pull a two-horse trailer? My 2004 Tahoe is perfect, but Chevy doesn’t seem to do the fold-flat thing anymore.

— Kevin Curran,

Earlham, Iowa

A: Have you tried the Ford f +0.95% Ford Motor Co. U.S. NYSE $ 17.03 +0.16 +0.95% Nov. 27, 2013 7:58 pm Volume (Delayed 15m). 31.50M AFTER HOURS $ 17.00 -0.03 -0.18% Nov.

27, 2013 6:11 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): 55,254 P/E Ratio 11.66 Market Cap $67.17 Billion Dividend Yield 2.35% Rev. per Employee $855,585 11/27/13 Are Tires on Your Black Friday. 11/26/13 Ford Recalls Escape SUVs Over. 11/25/13 Peugeot Lines Up Its Next CEO More quote details and news f in Your Value Your Change Short position Expedition? The new Toyota tm +0.22% Toyota Motor Corp. ADS U.S.

NYSE $ 125.21 +0.28 +0.22% Nov. 27, 2013 4:03 pm Volume (Delayed 15m). 246,201 P/E Ratio 13.46 Market Cap $213.42 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee $762,411 More quote details and news tm in Your Value Your Change Short position Sequoia and Nissan nsany +0.38% Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. ADS U.S.

OTCBB $ 18.28 +0.07 +0.38% Nov. 27, 2013 3:58 pm Volume (Delayed 15m). 386,282 AFTER HOURS $ 18.32 +0.04 +0.24% Nov. 27, 2013 5:45 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): P/E Ratio 10.17 Market Cap $41.04 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee $634,719 More quote details and news nsany in Your Value Your Change Short position Armada are also good candidates.

All have seats that fold flat — more or less — though they yield load floors that are higher and less useful as those found in most minivans. On some versions of these large SUVs, folding the third-row seats can be done by simply pressing a button.

Q: My wife and I have four children aged 7 years to 3 months old. Is there any car that can fit a family of six? Or do we need to purchase a minivan or SUV?

— Damon Leavell

High Bridge, N.J.

A: I think minivans are best at easing the strain of loading and unloading children, but there are alternatives, some of which are more efficient. The Mazda5 may be the only minivan for which the mini designation is appropriate (Read revew ). Based on the same chassis as the Mazda3 compact car, it seats six and is surprisingly fun to drive.

Other models like the Ford Taurus X, Kia Rondo and Dodge Journey are called crossovers but have more in common with station wagons of old. They are worth a look, especially if you prefer cars to trucks.

Have a question about cars? Write to mecar@wsj.com .

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