Driving With an Empty Gas Tank

Posted on March 18th, 2023 by ncapmanage

How Far Can You Go and Is It Good for Your Car?

Most of us have had the experience at one time or another. Trying to stretch the very last miles out of our gas supply before having to refill the tank, we keep driving until that empty gas tank warning light comes on.

The questions we face at that point are, how far can we go with that warning light on, and is it good for our vehicle to keep on driving?

The answers to those questions provide both good news and bad news.

First, the good news. When that gas warning light goes on, that warning indicates your gas tank is almost empty, but it’s not “bone dry” empty. Depending on the size of your car and the size of your car’s gas tank, you probably still have somewhere between two to four gallons of gas left in your tank.

A very basic rule of thumb is, the larger your vehicle, the larger your gas tank, and the more fuel you’re likely to still have in the tank. That means – depending on the size of your vehicle, the size of your gas tank, and your average MPG – even with that warning light on, you could probably drive another 30, 40, or 50 miles, and maybe even more.

But is it wise to do that? With the warning light on, is it really a good idea to keep on driving to burn the very last drops of fuel before finally pulling into a gas station?

The answer to that question is a pretty emphatic no!

How Driving on Empty Can Damage Your Vehicle

Here are at least two ways driving on empty can potentially damage your vehicle.

Clog your fuel filter

Over time, sediment settles to the bottom of your gas tank, and if you keep driving on empty, there’s a good chance some of that gunk will be drawn into your gas filter, clogging it up and forcing you to replace it. True, that’s not a huge expense, but it’s one that can easily be avoided by not driving on empty.

Damage your fuel pump

The fuel pump moves gas from your tank to the engine, and if there’s little fuel passing through the pump, it can overheat and fail completely on you. And replacing a fuel pump is considerably more expensive than replacing a gas filter! Also, when you’re running on empty, your power steering might fail, potentially leading to a serious accident.

So, What to Do?

When that warning light goes on, use common sense. Reduce speed to conserve fuel and pull into the first gas station you see. Even if you’re in a place where the price is more than you normally pay for gas, it’s better to spend a few extra bucks on fuel rather than big bucks to repair your car later.

Used Auto Parts in Chicago, Il

Sooner or later, despite your best efforts to prevent them, breakdowns will occur. When that happens and you need to save money on car parts, come to New Cats Auto Parts.

Whatever you may need in used parts, from fuel filters to catalytic converters, to motors and transmissions, we have them at prices you just can’t beat anywhere else in the Chicago area.

And by the way, if you have an old junker that no longer runs, we’ll be glad to take it off your hands. We pay cash for junk cars, and we’ll even haul it away for you.

So either way, buying parts from us or selling us your junk car, get in touch with New Cats Auto Parts today, and let’s make a deal!