What Happens When You Run Out of Gas?

February 5, 2020 11:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There are some drivers who tend to push their vehicle closer to the brink of running out of gas than others, getting as close to the “empty” marker as possible before they decide to fuel up. However, this is a bad habit to get into as a vehicle owner. Not only do you run the obvious risk of running out of gas while you’re on the road in Salt Lake City, UT, which can be a significant safety issue (not to mention an embarrassment), but you also run the risk of incurring some damage caused by running out of gas. “Empty” isn’t just a guideline—you need to take it seriously and refuel your vehicle when you’re getting close to running out of gas.

Here’s a quick overview of what happens to your vehicle when you run it while it’s on “empty.”

No more running on empty

Most auto experts say you should try to keep your gas tank at least a quarter full at all times, which will prevent any situation in which you run dangerously close to empty while being too far from a gas station to fill up.

However, it’s not just for convenience’s sake that you should keep your vehicle fueled with at least a little gas at all times. If you make a habit of driving on an empty tank (or one close to empty), this can damage your vehicle, specifically the catalytic converter, which is a key part of your exhaust system.

There’s also always a chance of getting debris caught in your fuel pump if the tank gets too low. Some particles that find their way into your gas tank will settle at the bottom of the tank, but they’ll generally stay in there and remain harmless unless your car is desperately trying to suck up any fuel it can reach. As the vehicle takes in that last bit of gas, it will take the debris with it, and those particles can get lodged in important parts of your fueling system, causing some major damage in the process.

This debris sediment usually is a result of contaminated fuel. However, the sediment isn’t the only thing that could damage your fuel pump. In many cars, the fuel pump is inside the gas tank itself, and the gas works as a sort of insulation and lubricant while flowing around the pump. If you frequently run your tank dry, the fuel pump could begin to overheat, which could cause it to wear out much earlier than it otherwise would.

Most vehicles will have a light that turns on when they have about two or three gallons of gas left, but in general you should make it a point to follow the quarter-tank rule. At the very least, it cannot hurt you to keep at least that much gas in your vehicle at all times, and then you’ll avoid all of these potential issues.

For more information about the effects of driving on empty in Salt Lake City, UT, contact the experts at AMR Auto Repair & Towing today.

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