We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road and the low gas light comes on. Time to fill up! But have you ever stopped to think if driving with low fuel is bad for your vehicle? The answer is: YES!
Experts say you should always keep your gas tank at least a quarter of the way full. But why? Obviously, doing so will keep you from getting in a dangerous situation where you're low on gas and too far from a gas station to fill up, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. But there are other; less obvious, reasons to keep a little gas in your tank. Simply, driving on an empty tank can cause damage to your vehicle in several ways.
You won't get very far driving on empty; but in the moments before you do stall out your car's catalytic converter, which is part of the exhaust system, can be damaged. You could also get debris stuck in your fuel pump by running your tank too low. That's because any tiny particles that find their way into the gas tank settle at the bottom, and they tend to stay there until your car is trying to grab the last bit of fuel it can. When the fuel pump sucks up the last of your gas, any debris in your tank will go along with it, and the particles can get stuck in your pump or in your fuel filter.
But getting nasty sediments stuck in your fuel pump isn't the only way that you could be damaging it. In some cars, the fuel pump is located in the gas tank, and the gas acts like insulation and a lubricant as it flows around the pump. If you're constantly running your gas tank dry, the fuel pump could be overheating, which will cause it to wear out prematurely.
So, now the BIG question. How far can you go when the gas gauge hits E? Well, that depends on your vehicle. Different vehicles have the gas light configured in different ways. Most cars will illuminate the light when there are about 2 or 3 gallons left. Some bigger vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, light up the empty indicator when there are about 4 gallons left in the tank. How far those amounts can get you is another variable that depends on your car's efficiency, your driving style, & whether you're in the city, on the highway, or stuck in a traffic jam.
We hope that you find this information useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.