If you drive a car, truck, or SUV that runs on gasoline, there's a good chance you’ve run it low on fuel a few times (or more than a few times,) and maybe even run out of gas completely a time or two. At Autoworks in Ithaca, NY, we like to provide information applicable to you. Running a vehicle low on fuel is something we’re all guilty of, and most of us don’t think twice about it. But, can it be bad for your car?
How Long Can I Wait to Fill Up with My Low Fuel Light On? - If you’ve spent enough fuel that the low fuel light is on, you likely have between two and four gallons of gas in the tank. Depending on how you drive, what your drive, and where you’re driving it, this amount of gas might go a long way. If you’re busy and making short trips, you might be tempted to wait a while before filling up.
Running out of gas may not actually harm the vehicle, but it will be a huge inconvenience. At a minimum, you’re going to be stranded and waiting for a ride or a roadside service to bail you out. If it happens on a bridge, an intersection, or a red light, you’re now inconvenienced and possibly in danger. That’s not the only risk involved, however.
Can low fuel levels actually damage your vehicle? - Driving with the low fuel light can damage your car. On older vehicles, it can be especially problematic. Metal tanks tend to rust, releasing debris into the tank. That debris will make its way into the fuel pump and fuel filter and can damage or clog these components. Even though new cars have plastic tanks, debris from the pump at the gas station makes it into your tank as well. If the vehicle is pulling from those last reserves of gasoline at the bottom of the tank, this debris will often settle into one spot and make their way into the fuel system all at once.
In addition to issues caused by debris, pump wear and overheating may occur as well. The pump relies on gasoline to serve as a coolant and a lubricant. If the pump is also sucking in air, the lack of lubrication and cooling ability can cause damage to the pump, and incapacitate the vehicle. It isn’t all doom and gloom though. Most likely, you’ll come out of a low fuel situation just fine. The important thing is to remember that it can potentially damage your vehicle and leave you stranded. Try to keep the tank above ¼ of the way full, to avoid surprise breakdowns and expensive repair. If you do break something, no matter how big or small, we’ll take care of it. Just call or stop by Autoworks in Ithaca, NY today.
Thank you for visiting Autoworks in Ithaca, NY. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.