What Is Vapor Lock On A Car?

What is vapor lock on a car? Vapor lock on a car is a method that occurs when the liquid fuel becomes hot enough to vaporize. The vaporized fuel then creates a lean condition (Not making enough liquid fuel), which prevents the fuel system from delivering a proper amount of gasoline to the engine. 

It commonly occurs when the car has been idling for a long time or turned off and back on.

How to avoid vapor lock?

If you experience vapor lock, you need to cool the fuel system down. As the fuel needs to condense back into liquid form. Here are a few ways to do so;

  • Park your vehicle at the side or in the shade
  • Now move the blacktop off, be careful as it’s hot.
  • Open the Hood for venting the engine.
  • Pour some cold water over the fuel bowls, lines, and pump.

Once the engine starts cooling down, now you can start the engine. 

  • Press the accelerator slightly
  • Do not press it all way down to the floor
  • Once the vehicle starts, hold the accelerator where it is until it starts to run smoothly 
  • The engine may trouble and sputter until all the vapors are cleared.

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What are the symptoms of vapor lock?

A vapor lock prevents the engine from receiving liquid fuel properly. This issue can cause a variety of noticeable symptoms, including Example:

Stalling and Difficult Starting

Gasoline engines require three main ingredients: correct air and fuel mixture, sound compression, and good spark. A vapor lock can cut off the liquid fuel supply to the engine and stop the vehicle. It is also difficult to restart the engine after warming up.

Misfires and Rough Running

Vapor lock can also cause fuel delivery problems and cause incomplete combustion in the engine. As a result, the vehicle may stall and enter rough conditions.

Poor Acceleration and Deceleration

An engine with low liquid fuel may exhibit poor acceleration and deceleration.

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5 Causes of vapor lock 

The common causes of vapor lock include;

High outside ambient temperatures

When most of the injection motors are stopped after a long drive when you restart them, some might not be able to restart immediately. The reason is that the vehicle’s temperature rises to 120-140°C. And Vapor lock is said to happen in high temperatures.

Extreme engine operating temperatures

Vapor lock occurs when the fuel temperature becomes high enough to turn the liquid into a vapor state. The fuel pump is designed to pump liquid, not air, and if the pressure in the fuel line builds up, the fuel pump will not be able to move fuel.

Fuel lines are routed too close to the exhaust system 

Vapor lock occurs when fuel boils in the carburetor or fuel line. Vaporized fuel creates back pressure in the fuel system, preventing gasoline from entering the engine. It often happens when the car is idling, turned off, and turned on again.

Running a winter fuel blend during warm weather.

Vapor lock usually affects vehicles with carburetors that are gasoline powered with an engine-driven mechanical fuel pump. Vapor lock may occur on fuel-injected vehicles.

Driving at a high altitude

The higher the altitude, the more likely gasoline fumes will form a vapor barrier to prevent fuel in the lines from reaching the engine.

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How to fix the vapor lock?

Once the engine starts cooling down, now you can start the engine. Press the accelerator slightly. Do not press it all the way down to the floor. 

Once the vehicle starts, hold the accelerator where it is until it starts to run smoothly. The engine may trouble and sputter until all the vapors are cleared.

How do I know if the engine has a vapor lock?

A vapor lock prevents the engine from receiving liquid fuel properly. This issue can cause a variety of noticeable symptoms. 

Gasoline engines require three main ingredients: correct air and fuel mixture, sound compression, and good spark. 

A vapor lock can be caused if the liquid fuel supplies to the engine and stops the vehicle. It is also difficult to restart the engine after warming up.

Vapor lock in fuel-injected engines, how does it happen?

Steam lockout / Vapor Lock occurs when fuel boils in the carburetor or fuel line. The evaporated fuel creates back pressure in the fuel system and prevents gasses from entering the engine. This usually happens when the car is idling or turning off.

Vapor lock is likely to occur at what altitude? Why?

It becomes clear that it is possible to test the vapor lock below 13,000 feet, thus 10,000 feet, where the actual boiling or airless boiling point of the fuel becomes evident.

Carburetor vapor lock symptoms

Vapor Lock occurs when fuel boils in the carburetor or fuel line. The evaporated fuel creates back pressure in the fuel system and prevents gasses from entering the engine. This usually happens when the car is idling or turning off.

Summary

Vapor lock can be a severe issue for your vehicle if not looked into correctly. If you got an old vehicle carbureted vehicle, there are different ways through which you can prevent vapor lock. 

Always ensure that the fuel lines are routed from the exhaust system and other parts. You can also cover the fuel lines in heat shield components. 

There are different ways to solve these. Another is to retrofit the vehicle with in-tank electric fuel.

All the provided solutions can work for you. Hope this article guided you well.

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