Running your vehicle after the gas gauge hits red and the low fuel light appears is a dangerous practice that could hurt your vehicle. Aside from the risk of getting stranded, a near-empty gas tank can cause costly damage to your car. When you search for your next set of wheels on Carsforsale.com, we want it to last you and your family for years to come. Here are five reasons you should keep the gas tank full.
1. Mechanical Issues
Gasoline not only fuels the vehicle, but it also functions as a coolant for the electric fuel pump motor. In modern cars, this pump sits in the middle of the gas tank filled with cool gasoline. A near-empty tank can cause the fuel pump to suck in air and overheat, causing significant damage to the pump.
Each time you neglect pumping gas, gunk from the bottom of the gas tank could get caught in various components of the vehicle. This sediment in your tank can foul the fuel filter. If the fuel filter doesn’t catch the sediment, you run the risk of clogging a fuel injector.
When a diesel runs dry, the injector pump fills with air and the vehicle won’t start by simply adding more diesel fuel. A tow truck and mechanic may need to get involved to tow the vehicle, remove filters, pressure-blow the fuel lines before adding fuel and prime the engine. Because of this, maintaining a full tank with a diesel engine is even more critical than with a gasoline engine.
2. Gas Mileage
Some will argue that because the gas tank is lighter near low, a low tank will give the car more fuel efficiency. A lighter load does require less gasoline, but compared to the weight of most vehicles, the weight of a full fuel tank is insignificant. Your car may actually be less efficient when the tank is near-empty, as more air in the tank can lead to an increase in evaporation.
Running out of fuel completely is the biggest danger of “driving on fumes”, especially during extreme winter and summer conditions. When an engine dies, brakes and power steering can be lost. Delaying the expense of a fill-up doesn’t reduce long term expenses, and it is never worth becoming stranded and putting yourself or your family in danger.
Along with keeping the fuel tank full, make sure to have a weather-appropriate vehicle emergency kit in your vehicle. Not all of us are as lucky as Kramer on Seinfeld.
4. Save Time
Being five minutes late two or three times is better than being a couple hours late once. Filling a half-empty gas tank while it’s convenient could potentially be more time-effective than going out of the way to fill when you are finally forced to do so.
5. Save Money
Skimping on gas is a dangerous practice that doesn’t save money and could actually lead to expensive repairs. Habitually running the car on empty could lead to fuel pump damage and a repair potentially costing hundreds to thousands in parts and labor. Filling can be painful when prices are high, but it is an investment that will protect your vehicle and could save you hundreds.
Trying to save money while driving? The tires are a great place to start. How to save money by maintaining your tires.