Why You Should Think Twice About Driving Your Car Almost On Empty

We’ve all done it, some of us more often than others; we’re almost home from work and notice the gas gauge leaning on the edge of empty. We’re exhausted and just want to get home to our couch, so we say to ourselves, “I know my car. She’ll make it,” and then pat the steering wheel reassuringly, affectionately. We promise ourselves we’ll get gas in the morning, but feel guilty for procrastinating and worry vaguely about the embarrassment of running out of gas. As it turns out, there are more reasons than just a potentially embarrassing roadside call to AAA to avoid doing this to your car. 

According to AutoGuide.com, when that warning light from the fuel indicator pops on telling you that you are low on fuel, it means that your tank is now running on reserve fuel, which is roughly 10-15 percent of its capacity. While this often translates in our heads to mean, “I’ll make it several miles before I’m really in trouble,” running out of gas isn’t the only danger to your vehicle.

Why you shouldn't let your fuel tank get too low

Inside your gas tank is something called a fuel pump, which is responsible for sending the fuel from the tank to the engine, where it is burned for propulsion. This pump relies on the liquid gasoline itself to keep it both cool and lubricated. When your fuel is too low, it can overheat. If this happens too often, you risk premature failure of the fuel pump, and that is a costly repair to undertake. Failing to replace a fuel pump can lead to poor performance and, eventually, your car just won’t start at all (via AutoGuide.com). 

If you live in a cold climate, there is another reason letting your fuel run too low is dangerous; condensation can cause fuel lines to freeze (via Home Service Oil Company). Frozen lines can prevent gas from reaching your engine, leading to a car that won’t start. Not a fun thing to wake up to on a frigid morning just because you didn’t want to stop for gas on the way home the night before. While we totally get how very much stopping for gas isn’t something you want to do after a busy day, these are a few very good reasons to put on your big kid pants and do it anyway.

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