Far too many people make the mistake of continuing to drive after their warning light comes on. While it may not appear to be a big deal, there are a number of reasons why you should look to fill up whenever you’re low on fuel.
You may have less fuel than you think
Drivers who choose to ignore their warning light often overestimate the amount of fuel they actually have remaining in their tank. While some models can continue to operate for miles after the light turns on, others cannot.
The warning light typically comes on when there’s about 10-15% of a tank left, but that is just a general estimate. Fuel gauges are not exact, especially if you’re driving in an area with a lot of hills, and should not be relied upon.
It could do more harm than good
While you may think that you can save money on fuel by driving on empty, you could be costing yourself a lot more in the long-run. Should you run out of gas, your fuel pump could end up getting clogged by sucking up the dirt and debris at the bottom of the tank.
Replacing your fuel system can become quite expensive, while running on a failing fuel pump can lead to poor performance, which, of course, can hurt your fuel economy significantly.
You stand the risk of getting stranded
Not only can running on low fuel become expensive, but it can also be quite dangerous. While the odds may not be high, you could find yourself stranded should you continue to drive for a long distance after your warning light comes on.
This may not be a big deal if you’re travelling on an empty street, but running out of fuel on a highway can become extremely dangerous for yourself and everyone else around you. Also, it could end up costing you a good chunk of change if you have to get your car towed.
Tips for avoiding these problems
In general, you should always try to keep your tank at least a ¼ full, and make a stop at the gas station prior to embarking on a long trip.
If you’re having trouble finding a gas station when your fuel tank runs low, pull over to the side of the road and look it up on your smartphone. There are plenty of apps available that will tell you where the closest and cheapest stations are within your general vicinity.
If you’re concerned about the amount of gas you burn on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to change your driving habits to improve fuel economy. Avoid starting and stopping suddenly, and try to drive at a smooth, constant pace whenever possible. Obey the speed limit, making sure your tires are properly inflated, and get rid of any excess weight that your vehicle may be carrying.