Tip of the Week
Whether intentional or purely circumstantial, it’s likely that most experienced drivers have seen the low-fuel light illuminate their vehicle’s dashboard at least once. For some drivers, the fuel light is a source of anxiety as they search for the closest gas station. For others, it can be a bragging right, proudly boasting how far they push their gas tanks to the limit.
It's no secret that an automobile can continue to run after the fuel light comes on, but should drivers rely on the extra mileage it allows?
Some popular car models can make it between 30 and 50 miles after the fuel light goes on, according to a study by Pick Analysis. The average Chevrolet Silverado will continue for about 33 miles beyond empty. Smaller cars like the Volkswagen Jetta average about 43 miles, and the Toyota Corolla tops the list at 47 miles.
Knowing how far a vehicle can drive with low fuel may be reassuring, but the effects of low-fuel driving can be damaging to the car.
“When you’re running low on gas, it’s best not to push your luck,” says Neil Hoff, a refined fuels specialist with CHS. “Stopping to fill up before your gas gauge hits ‘E’ could save you stress, damage to your car and time spent on the side of the road."
Hoff explains that by allowing a car to run on empty, dirt and contaminants are more likely to become suspended in the fuel and block the fuel filter. When fuel is extremely low, the fuel pump is no longer suspended in fuel and can overheat. In some cases, low fuel can even affect power steering and brakes.
To avoid an expensive trip to a mechanic, Hoff advises taking a proactive approach to fueling, advising drivers to always keep at least a quarter tank of gas in the tank at all times. Running out of gas in heavy traffic is not only inconvenient but also dangerous, so Hoff recommends fueling up before getting on highways or major roads. Also, becoming familiar with where gas stations are along a driving route will also help prevent running out of gas on long trips. Always keep a gas can in the trunk in case of emergencies.
Did You Know
As of the beginning of April, General Motors has recalled almost 7 million vehicles this year, CNN reported. That’s more than GM recalled over the past four years.
Security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani recently reported that Tesla car doors can be hacked relatively easily (by someone with hacking know-how), and that other vehicles with wireless technology may be susceptible as well.
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Tip of the Week