You, like all drivers, have those days where you notice the gas in your car is low, but you don’t have time for or just don’t feel like filling it up. You know that even once the light comes on, you still have enough fuel to get to where you need to be. Sometimes you keep going in the hopes of finding less expensive gas somewhere else.
However, experts have warned that driving once the gas light comes on is not a good idea. In fact, they suggest that you always keep your tank at least a quarter full. Here are a few reasons why:
It Can Damage Your Car
Driving when your tank is almost empty can cause extensive repairs. Excessive aftermarket fuel additives can harm the catalytic converter, requiring you to have it either repaired or replaced. It could also contribute to additional wear to your fuel pump, which could cause it to stop working. The fuel pump is submerged in fuel and helps to keep the pump cool. When the pump is not submerged in fuel, the pump may overheat and fail.
The Fuel Gauge May Be Inaccurate
Experts have determined your car’s gauge to be more of an estimate than a precise measurement, which can fluctuate depending on your car’s fuel economy as well as your driving style. When the light comes on, there may actually be less gas left than you think.
Your Car Can Unexpectedly Break Down
Because too many people overestimate the amount of fuel left in their tank, their car often breaks down in a dangerous location, such as a highway, intersection or other busy road. Or, you may end up stranded somewhere where no one is around to help. Keeping your tank full can help increase the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.
You May Be Unprepared in an Emergency
Although it may seem unlikely, you never know when an emergency may arise where you need to get somewhere fast, such as a physical injury or severe weather. If your tank is almost empty, you could be putting yourself at risk.
Tips to Avoid Running Out of Gas
Although you may recognize the dangers of running out of gas, sometimes you have reasons for putting off refilling the tank. Here are a few tips to help you avoid this risky situation:
- Make a goal to always have at least a quarter tank of gas.
- Check gas prices online rather than driving around to find the cheapest station.
- Fill up your tank before a long drive, even if it is only half empty. Sometimes you get stuck in traffic, get lost or just plain forget to fill up during a lengthy road trip.
- Do not rely on the number of miles your car tells you are left before you run out of gas. These are estimations and are not always accurate.
If your gas light still happens to come on, you should do the following:
- If you are unsure where the nearest gas station is, pull over as soon as safely possible. Then use your phone or GPS to locate the closest place to fill up.
- Don’t drive faster to get to the gas station. If possible, stay between 35 and 45 miles per hour.
- Turn off the air conditioning, stereo and any other electrical devices.
- Roll up your windows.
Educating yourself on the dangers of driving with your gas light on as well as following these tips can only benefit you in the long run. Not only will you help increase the safety of yourself and those around you, but you will also save money on unnecessary car repairs.