Grabbed your attention, didn't I?
Symptom: when car is low on gas, it won't start.
This happened to our rav twice, once to me and once to my s.o.
All is well, drive around, guel gauge gets lower and lower, low fuel lights up, you think, sure there's reserve, will last me couple of days worth of short commute. The next morning it doesn't start, not even a sputter.
Fuel gauge shows below zero, fuel low light is on, starter turns happily, engine won't start. Walked to nearest filling station with largest disposable container in the household, namely 1.5L soft drink bottle, filled it up, emptied in the fuel tank, car still won't start.
Went to the gas station with larger container, a mop bucket, refilled car with 9L of fuel, starts happily after 10 seconds or so spinning the starter.
What gives? How come 1.5 liters of fuel is not enough?
That same car survived a trip from Kerrville to Fort Stockton, where gas stations are very far between, and got us to overpriced Exxon with 64 miles past Fuel low light. Yet it cannot get over 15km x 2-way commute? My previous car managed 2~3 days of commute when low on fuel.
Note that car never ran out of fuel on the road, it seems to have run out of fuel while parked and switched off.
Different locations, unlikely someone nicked last drops of fuel, also both times it was rather cold, below freezing.
Ideas so far:
- Fuel pump/lines/filter/injector total volume is way over 1.5L
- Hot engine runs on fumes, cold cannot
- Bottom of fuel tank is flat, fuel sloshes around and gets to the pump while car is in motion, last pools of of fuel cannot be accessed when car is stationary
- Fuel disappears or evaporates when car is parked
- Remaining fuel is measured so exactly on modern cars and it's just bad luck
- Toyota has a clever system (akin to gas/brake fiasco) that doesn't let you start the car when you are so low on gas you might be stranded
We both learned our lesson and fuel the car soon when needle gets close to zero. Inquisitive minds want to know, is there a scientific explanation?