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Why Driving With An Almost Empty Tank Is Bad For Your Vehicle?

by LiMona 11 Sep 2023



Running out of fuel might be annoying and even embarrassing, but it can also be bad for your car.

And despite our best plans, it does happen, so it’s worth knowing what to do and what not to do if you find yourself stuck in an empty tank.


What Happens to a Car When You Run Out of Fuel?



1 - Wearing out the fuel pump

Fuel in your tank acts like insulation and a lubricant for the fuel pump as it flows around it. When there is not enough fuel in your vehicle’s tank, the fuel pump does not get the same level of lubrication as it normally would and if you drive while being low on fuel consistently, then you can damage the fuel pump prematurely by over-stressing it and overheating it. Long-term exposure to air can lead to early deterioration of the fuel pump.


2 - Tank sludge

Fuel often contains many contaminants that can settle in the bottom of the tank which over time turn into sludge. If you run low on fuel, there is a high probability that this sludge will be sucked up by the fuel pump and carried to the engine. That will cause your injectors and fuel filter to clog up, poor fuel economy, and rough engine operation. Eventually, it may even cause more serious issues that require expensive repairs.


3 - Air In The System

It’s called a fuel pump for a reason and not an air pump. If there isn’t sufficient fuel in the tank, the pump will end up pumping air into the system. If air enters the fuel system, the worst-case scenario would be catastrophic damage to the engine as the fuel injectors inject less fuel into the cylinder, causing detonation.


4 - You could stall at any second

Your vehicle won’t go anywhere if it doesn’t have any fuel in it. The consequence of running out of fuel is a sudden loss of power to your engine. Imagine if that were to happen on a busy road or the highway. Yes, it would be very dangerous as your engine would cut out and you would lose your power steering and power brakes making controlling your vehicle very difficult.


5 – Stress

The road can be an anxious and stressful place and matters can be made worse if you start to panic because you are low on fuel. Driving in this state of heightened tension could lead to an accident so make sure you have some peace of mind by ensuring you have at least half a tank of fuel in your car.



What to Do If You Run Out of Fuel When Driving?



Now that you’re aware of the signs to look out for, you should be able to spot these while driving a car that’s running out of fuel. Any sputtering, misfiring, or issues moving off could all indicate that you’re running low on fuel.


The warning indicator light should pop up on your dashboard if this is the case, but a quick check of your fuel gauge should let you know roughly how much fuel is left in the tank. Most modern cars also have a digital remaining mileage indicator, those these aren’t always accurate.


If you’ve caught it in good time, then you can calmly make your way to the nearest petrol station to fill up. However, in instances where you haven’t been so lucky, you’ll need to safely pull over, turn on your hazard warning lights, and assess the situation.


Is there a nearby petrol station within walking distance? If so, you might be able to buy the fuel you need, walk back to your car, and fill the fuel tank before setting off again.


If you’ve found yourself with an empty tank and you’re too far away from a petrol station to walk there, then the safest option is to call for assistance.


Whether you call a friend to come to your rescue with a transportable fuel tank or contact roadside assistance, ensure you stay safe while you wait. Staying inside the car is likely to be the safest option if you’re parked on a quiet street. However, you should wait safely behind a barrier or away from traffic if you’ve stopped on a dual carriageway or motorway.




Of course, you can prevent all of the problems detailed here simply by making certain you never come close to running out of gas. It shouldn't be news to you that running out of gas is something to avoid, and one good way to do that is by filling your fuel tank every time it dips to the quarter-tank mark. 


If you're aware of fuel injection pump problems with your automobile or have questions about fuel pump replacement components, has the answers you're looking for – and the products, too! 

Here is the link you can check and buy aftermarket Fuel Injection Pump online catalog.


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