Almost everyone has driven their car on empty. You know that moment when your fuel meter arrow hits the E and the gas light pops on. A sudden tire gets on you and you begin to wonder if you can get to the nearest gas station before the car goes off.
Truth is, no one enjoys the stress of driving on an empty gas as you might get stranded. But you can ease up the tension if you know just how long you can drive when your gas light goes on.
Table of Contents
How Far Can You Go?
Generally, you can drive your car when the lights are on for about 30 to 50 miles. This means you don’t have to panic as you still have some time to go. but this doesn’t mean you should not locate the nearest gas station for a top up. However, the distance varies with your car model, whether you are driving a car, crossover, SUV or a truck. It also depends on the vehicle condition, how old it is and even the road condition.
If you are driving a smaller model like Nissan Altima, you can go for about 81 to 114 miles even after the warning light comes up. Large vehicles like Ford F-150 trucks will usually run into trouble around the 35 to 80 mile range, although fuel conservation trucks can do even better. According to research, the least distance you can go on with the gas light on is 25 miles while others can run up to 100 miles even after the warning light.
Running on low fuel overtime can cause deposits and other debris to build up in your gas tank. Whether from heat, the occasional low-quality batch of fuel or corrosion caused by moisture.
What are the Dangers of Driving with Low Fuel
Driving with low fuel is not just dangerous as it can get you anxious and stressed to get you to the next gas station, it’s also harmful to your car. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t drive with low fuel.
1. Damaged Fuel Pump
Driving with a low fuel tank can cause damage to your fuel tank as it begins to pump air into the tank instead of fuel. Driving a car with less than ¼ fuel can affect your fuel pump, so don’t make it a habit of driving with low fuel.
To replace the fuel pump, you probably have to remove the gas tank and drain the fuel. it is preferable to take it to an autoshop, which will cost you more money.
2. Excessive Engine Sediment
Gasolines have some sediments. This is true even if you are using top-tier fuel from the best gas stations.
When the fuel levels get low, these sediments seep into the engine. It also gives room for deposits and debris into the engine. This is a major contributor to permanent engine damage.
3. Clogged Filters
When sediments find their way into your engine, they also get caught in the filter, leading to clogged filters. A clogged filter leads to trouble in starting the engine as the engine no longer has access to sufficient fuel supply. This causes a deceleration in speed, and misfiring.
Lack of sufficient also causes damage to the catalytic converter if you are lucky.
4. Fuel Injection System Corrosion
Lower fuel level of your car can result in more condensation. Due to varying temperature and added moisture, corrosion occurs in the fuel injection system. This stops the engine from running effectively, leading to costly repairs that would have been avoided if you had been practicing a sufficient fuel level.
When your gas light turns on, it is a gentle reminder that your fuel level is low and you need to top it up.
For proper functioning, always fill your tank above eighth of the tank to prolong your engine life. Fill up regularly and try to keep things above an eighth of a tank to prolong the life of your vehicle.