Fuel Stolen from Car


Nov 20, 2015
Audi TT
Not sure where to post this, but here goes. A few days ago I noticed that the fuel cover flap on my 1995 W202 C220 had been prized open and the petrol cap was lying in the road. I got in and put the key in the ignition just to check where the fuel guage was because I had recently filled the tank. It looked like the needle was still on 3/4 full so I left things as they were without starting it up and just tried to force the fuel cap back down. Then tonight I went to actually start the car up but realised there may not be any petrol in it after all (the guage is unreliable and this time it was showing empty). Anyway, when I turned the ignition I heard a really loud horrible grinding sound under car and the car didn't start. I immediately turned it off and took the key out of the ignition. I'd probably tried turning it over for only about 3 seconds or so.

Anyway, my question is, is that the sound of the fuel punp? It really sounded loud and I could feel the vibration through the seat. Have I done any damage by trying to start it without any fuel (if that's really the case)?
Finally, If indeed the fuel tank has been sucked dry what's the safest way to get fuel circulating again? Should I fill up the tank and let it sit for a day to let the fuel settle back through the system, or will that happen very quickly after filling it?

I really can't believe the amount of damage people are willing to do for the sake of about £50 worth of petrol. Truly shocking! But my priority right now is getting this running again. Any advice welcome.


Tuercas viejas

MB Enthusiast
Mar 26, 2017
landrover/rolls royce/MB AMG S600/Prius
Well let me state that people run their cars dry for lack of fuel every day .
In Canada /Texas when they sign post NO FUEL for 450 KMS they mean it !
Your situation is no difficult having been fuel nicked dry!
Beside the pump which sits in a makeshift bucket within the tank is probably getting some fuel hence the growling racket--its called cavitation.
Simply get a 5 gallon can of fuel and dump it in the tank.
Switch on for a "few" to let the pump prime itself then go for a fire up.
Betcha it starts.
None the worst for wear!
Now you can't believe, well I can.
Its a universal thing even here in the USA once petrol gets above $3/gallon .
Remember we Brits are the world's best thieves, villains, scoundrels, and Con men .
We have after all been at it for centuries, it comes naturally . 👿 :cool:
Tuercas Viejas


Active Member
Mar 29, 2020
loughton essex
A180 w169 2006 2.0 cdi
Not had it recently but when I lived in south London they used to just cut the fuel line

Petrol Pete

MB Enthusiast
Nov 11, 2016
Petrol stations ...everywhere
C55 AMG Wagon
OP sorry to hear this :(. It does make you think as a crime it's pretty stupid , high risk of getting caught (time taken to siphon) for little reward (how do you know much fuel is in the tank ?) but it obviously still goes on . I personally have not heard of fuel theft from a car for years. Mass Diesel theft from farms and vehicle yards , yes , lot's of that going on and theft of home heating oil.

You say the car was parked on the road , is this a quiet secluded road and (roughly) where are you ?

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