What is Vapor Lock?

As Europeans we didn’t know what vapor lock means, but as we were driving Herbie in extraordinary hot places, we had to learn it the hard way, by experiencing it on ourselves. Unfortunately it happened to us again a couple times on this trip. And it was and still is one of the most frightening things to us…

Vapor lock is actually a problem that mostly affects older vehicles with mechanically powered fuel pumps. When you drive a car in really hot areas and you stop somewhere and you turn the engine off, the heat of the engine as well as of the asphalt underneath and the extremely high outside temperatures may cause the fuel to vaporize within the gas line. When this happens, there is no way to get the car started again, because the fuel pump is not able to suck through the fuel. After that, there are two options: You either wait (and that takes long) or you open the carburetor, filling fuel right into the fuel chamber, hoping that the fuel pump can overcome the vapor lock by running long enough to suck through the fuel.

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One thought on “What is Vapor Lock?

  1. Dear Domi and Zainab
    Here in sunny South Africa, we have replaced the mechanical pump on HITI with an inline electric pump and voila!!problem solved for the last 23 years.

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