Siphoning liquids without using your mouth?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 2002

Dear Tom and Ray:

Is there a way to siphon liquids -- like gasoline and antifreeze -- from a car without putting your mouth on the siphoning tube? -- Joyce

RAY: Yes. When you're siphoning a fluid, you need a way to fill the siphon tube to get the flow started. And while it's tempting to put your mouth on the tube and suck the fluid into it, when you're dealing with toxic substances, that's a very, very bad idea. If you need evidence why, look no further than my brother.

TOM: Yeah. They had me do all the siphoning at the garage until I figured out that it wasn't the pork sandwiches from Izzy's that kept causing me to excuse myself during tune-ups.

RAY: The only realistic approach is to buy a ready-made siphoning tube that has a squeezable vacuum pump at the end. You put one end of the clear tube into the gas tank or the radiator overflow tank, and then you squeeze the pump at the other end to create suction. The pump has a check valve, so each time you squeeze, the tube fills up a little more. Once the tube is full and the liquid is flowing, it should keep flowing for as long as the receptacle remains lower than the reservoir you're drawing from and as long as the flow is uninterrupted.

TOM: You can get these "siphons" in any auto-parts store or the auto-parts section of a jumbo mart. They cost a buck or two, and they're cheap junk, but you use them once and then throw them away.

RAY: And if you have any brains at all, you won't need them more than once, because after having to use one once, you'll always remember to look at your gas gauge.

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