Don't Drive on an Empty Tank!

By Naylor's Auto Repair on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 15:24

Have you ever been driving along, maybe with your windows open and maybe singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs, only to see your gas light come on? "Oh," you might have thought, "no big deal. I'll handle it some other time." Whether this sounds familiar or not, the truth is that it really is a bad idea to drive on an empty tank--and here's why.

Translating the Gas Light

Independent repair shops have your best interests at heart; they want you and your car to be safe and sound. That's why they'll all tell you never, ever to "push it" when it comes to your gas light.

That little light is more than just a reminder that you need to shell out more gas money. It's actually your car's way of telling you that you're using "reserve" fuel stores--which is generally the last 10% of your tank. Although the gas light doesn't mean you need to panic and pull over right away, it's not a good idea to push it. In fact, while possible, it's not advisable to find out exactly how far you can drive with your gas light on--especially if you know you're likely to test your luck.

Why You Shouldn't Drive on Empty

So, why is it such a bad idea to drive on an empty tank? The answer is: it can damage important components of your car. Here's a look at some of the parts that you could be affecting. 

Fuel pump damage

The part of your car that moves gas from your tank to your engine is called a "fuel pump." The fuel pump is lubricated by gasoline moving through it--which means that, when you're running on fumes, you run the risk of overheating and eventually damaging your hardworking fuel pump. (Tip: they're pretty pricey to replace!)

Fuel filter damage

The fuel filter keeps sediments from getting into your engine. Of course, all those sediments tend to sit at the bottom of your tank--so when you drive on empty, you're basically using dirty gasoline and overworking your fuel filter.

Getting stranded

The last and most obvious risk is that you'll run out of gas. While this obviously isn't "damage to your car," it's definitely not something anyone wants to experience. Just fill up the tank and put the worries to rest!

Want to ensure you're treating your car right? Look at the quarter-tank mark instead of the E and fill up whenever you're at or near that line. 

Want more tips straight from an independent repair shop? Contact us today!