Collateral damage from rising fuel prices at gas stations, draining tanks is gaining momentum. There are ways to protect yourself from it. Our advice.
This is a double fine for motorists. The rise in fuel prices is accompanied by an equally unpleasant consequence: a surge in the discharge of tanks. If it is difficult to assess the scale of the phenomenon, the police notify motorists on social networks.
Motorists have been warned
Siphoning a tank consists of inserting a pipe into the filling hole (tray) to suck up the contents. From now on, you no longer need to suck up liquid, risking swallowing vapors or fuel, to start the flow: for ten euros you can buy a siphon kit equipped with a hand pump online. Thus, in less than 10 minutes, the bandits can empty the tank of the car without any special restrictions. And, at current pampas prices, this practice is gaining more and more followers. So much so that police are challenging motorists on social media. In early March, the National Police of the Lower Rhine launched a call on Twitter inviting “fast” motorists to equip their car “lockable cap and/or anti-theft fuel system to block the path to the siphons”.
Cars are not always equipped as standard
If tanks are so easy to empty, it’s because manufacturers don’t always fit special equipment as standard. There is a check valve to prevent fuel from leaking in the event of a rollover, but not enough to prevent siphoning. Except, since 2006, for the brands of the Volkswagen group (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, etc.) or BMW and Mini, who modified it to make it untouchable with a simple flexible hose. A special tool was also developed to allow repairmen to drain the tank before mechanical intervention. For its part, Ford uses a filler neck equipped with an anti-siphon system. Renault has opted to equip some of its models with a key cap to close the filler neck. But nothing special about Hyundai, Mercedes or Smart, which simply equip their cars with a sunroof, the closing of which is linked to the central lock. A solution that may seem interesting on paper but is actually inefficient. Designed in fairly brittle plastic, it is actually quite easy to break. And since many brands have abandoned a lid with a lock or no lid at all (the tightness is provided by the hatch itself), access to the siphon filler neck is not difficult.
Transfer, not always profitable
If access to the contents of the tank is quite easy, especially on older cars, the result is not always what you expect. Indeed, the repairman tells us that modern tanks have a very complex shape and are very divided into compartments. Sometimes they even consist of two parts (like an inverted “U”), or even more, interconnected by a special pump that pumps the precious liquid from one side to the other. Therefore, even if a fraudster gains access to the inside of the tank, he will not be able to take all of its contents. And, since the size of the tanks is getting smaller and smaller, it can be a maximum of 20 liters.
Not being sure of preventing a drain can make it harder for thieves. For example, by inserting an anti-siphon filter into the filler neck or, if possible, by adding a lockable tank cap. It is advisable to park inside its pavilion or in a guarded parking lot. Otherwise, choose a well-lit area or, even better, install a presence-sensing lighting system set to park your car. Similarly, it’s smart to park your car close to a wall to prevent or restrict access to the fuel door. Finally, it is recommended not to fill up the car before a long period of absence, especially during long weekends or holidays. These are indeed the most popular periods for thieves.