Why Running on Empty is Bad for your Car

 In Education

We’ve all been guilty of running our tanks so low that the gas light comes on. Trying to squeeze every ounce of fuel out of our car is important when the prices aren’t favorable to our piggy banks, right? We’re here to tell you that there are more negative effects to this theory than positive.

As we continue to hear our elders preach to fill up our gas tanks before they hit a quarter or below, it’s about time we listen to their wise words. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t drive around on empty – or close to it:

1. Wearing out the fuel pump

According to Consumer Reports, the gas in your car “acts like a coolant for the electric fuel-pump motor, so when you run very low, this allows the pump to suck in air, which creates heat and can cause the fuel pump to wear prematurely and potentially fail.” This may not be an instant problem, but overtime it is something that could have a costly, negative outcome, such as a couple hundred dollar repair.

2. Fuel gauge isn’t always accurate

Just because your fuel gauge says you have 40 miles until empty doesn’t mean it is 100% accurate. In fact, how precise your car’s gauge is relies on a variety of factors, including your car’s fuel economy and driving style. You should always consider it more as an estimate rather than an exact measurement. The reality is, running on low puts you at risk of getting stranded or being in an accident when the car suddenly stops running on the road.

3. Sediment implications

Sediment from gasoline settles at the bottom of every gas tank. The lower you let your gas levels dip, the more the dirt gets stirred up from the bottom of the tank. This causes your car to use the dirtiest fuel in its tank. You also risk the dirt getting into your car’s fuel line and engine. If the engine clogs up with dirt, the entire fuel engine system will need flushed, which could rack up another hundred dollar bill.

So the next time you’re dipping below a quarter of a tank, think about these three implications above and refuel right away! Your gas tank and wallet will thank you in the long haul.

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