When your low fuel light turns on, it is a warning that you are dangerously close to running out of gas.
The amount of fuel you have left in the tank and the time you have before you run out depends on several factors, including:
- The vehicle’s fuel economy
- Your speed
- Your location (highway vs. city streets)
So, let us get into reasons why it is never a good idea to drive with the low fuel light on:
Costly Car Repairs
If you run out of gas, your car will break down. That means you could risk serious damage to the engine or another car part.
According to our CMH Midrand Technicians, the gas in your car “acts as 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.”
The total bill to fix your vehicle will largely depend on the amount of damage. While you may expect to pay for parts and labour, the cost of keeping your car at a mechanic for longer than one day can mean more money out of your wallet to pay for a rental car or ride-share service.
Higher Gas Prices
Driving with the low fuel light on means you cannot comparison shop for the cheapest gas price.
If you are running low on gas, you will likely be in a rush to pull into a gas station that has expensive fuel because — let us face it — you probably do not have any other choice. So instead of using your fuel points with another retailer, you are going to pay more than you should for gas because you let the fuel light come on.
Tips to Avoid Running Out of Gas
Now that we have gone over two reasons why fuel light low = more money out of your pocket, follow these tips to avoid running out of gas:
Keep Your Gas Tank No Less Than ¼ Full
You should always keep your tank at least a quarter full, According to our Technicians. This amount of gas gives you some much-needed breathing room before you must make a desperate decision.
Use Mobile Apps to Find Cheap Gas Stations and Cheap Fuel
If the price at the pump is preventing you from filling up, use online tools or smartphone apps to find the cheapest gas near your house.
Turn the Air Conditioning Off
We all love the cool air from the air conditioner, but when you’re running on empty, you need to increase your fuel economy. One way to do that is to turn off the A/C — at least until you make it to the gas station.
Don’t Drive So Aggressively
Not only is it discourteous, but aggressive driving wastes more gas. Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can drop your gas mileage from 15% to 30% at highway speeds. In stop-and-go traffic, fuel economy drops from 10% to 40%.
The bottom line is that driving with the low fuel light on is a bad idea for your safety, your vehicle, and your wallet.
Before you drive to your next destination, check your gas tank. If you’re running low on fuel, take the time to fill up before you run out!