Car Talk: Getting back on the road is tough after thieves ruin gas tank


CAR TALK

By Ray Magliozzi - Car Talk



Dear Car Talk:

My newly acquired 2018 Nissan Rogue was vandalized.

Late at night, after returning to my car in a parking lot, we discovered a massive gas spill and odor around the car. Then we noticed gas was coming out from under our car.

A tow was ordered, and the fire department dispatched. There was gas everywhere! I was questioned: “Did you run over something?” I hadn’t.

After the gas had stopped seeping, the car was towed to a mechanic. The mechanic called the next morning and said, “Someone crawled underneath your car, used an 1/8-inch drill bit and made a hole in your tank!” Wow.

Now, six weeks later, my car has yet to be repaired. Though at a reputable repair shop, a gas tank for such a new car is just not available! It’s been back-ordered for six weeks. I wait patiently each week for an update from the mechanic (which they duly provide), and the last communication was that “the tank is now on its way from Tennessee!”

This has been a most agonizing and upsetting, not to mention inconvenient, ordeal. I had the car barely four months when this happened.

Have you heard of this? I’ve been told that because it’s such a new car, Nissan would not just have gas tanks sitting around for replacement.

Does that sound legit? Please provide any thoughts on this senseless crime. — Rita

Well, it’s unfortunate that these knuckleheads didn’t decide to smoke a cigarette while they were drilling into your gas tank. Then you could’ve gotten a brand-new 2020 Rogue. There’s probably no waiting for those.

What these criminals did was obnoxious, and the result of a bad upbringing. But I’m not sure it’s completely senseless, Rita.

My guess is that somebody needed gas. They probably had a 5-gallon gas can or an empty 2-liter soda bottle. So, they drilled a hole in your tank, took whatever they could and then ran away, leaving the rest to spill out on the ground.

It’s a rotten thing to do to another person, but that’s my guess as to what happened.

And the explanation for why there are no replacement tanks available does sound legit. There really is little to no reason for Nissan to stock gas tanks for brand-new cars. There’s simply no demand for them.

Because of where the gas tank is located — tucked safely away from the perimeter of the car — if you had an accident that crushed your gas tank, replacing the gas tank would be the least of your problems. The car would be totaled.

There was a time when gas tanks would get replaced because they would corrode after a few years. But now gas tanks are plastic. So they really never fail.

We’re glad yours is finally on its way from Tennessee. Maybe you should have ordered two, so you can scalp one to another vandal victim on eBay?

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CAR TALK

By Ray Magliozzi

Car Talk

Got a question about cars? Write to Car Talk write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.

Got a question about cars? Write to Car Talk write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.

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