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How low can you go? Drivers increasingly risk running out of fuel

Kwik Fit | Friday 18th September 2015 4:00pm

car fuel gauge on empty

A recent survey carried out by LV Road Rescue has revealed an increasing number of UK motorists are taking a big gamble by continuing to drive with their fuel warning light on.

Over half a million motorists admitted to running the risk of a roadside breakdown by driving with very low fuel and a further 250,000 admitted that they tend to either ignore the fuel warning light or simply never noticed it was on!

But the gamble doesnít always pay off - LV also claimed that more than 800,000 motorists had to be rescued from the roadside as a result of running out of fuel. It seems a significant proportion of motorists overestimate how much fuel they have left in the tank with almost one in four drivers believing that, once their fuel light comes on, they can squeeze another 40 miles out of the tank before running out of fuel. But this is not necessarily the case and research carried out by tankonempty.com shows that many of the UKís most popular cars average less than 40 miles once the fuel light comes on. Of course, fuel consumption depends a great deal on driving style but tankonemptyís findings give a rough estimate of what you can expect from your tank.

Car Model Average # of miles left after warning light comes on
Audi A3 42 miles
Audi TT 30 miles
BMW 3 Series 44 miles
Citroen Saxo 38 miles
Fiat 500 13 miles
Ford Fiesta 37 miles
Ford Focus 40 miles
Ford Ka 37 miles
Honda Civic 43 miles
Mercedes C Class 46 miles
Nissan Duke 42 miles
Peugeot 107 21 miles
Renault Clio 41 miles
Vauxhall Astra 26 miles
Vauxhall Corsa 29 miles
Volkswagen Golf 42 miles
Volkswagen Polo 39 miles

Besides the inconvenience of being stranded by the side of the road, running out fuel can actually damage your vehicle in the process.

What are the consequences of running on empty?

Allowing your fuel tank to run on empty can damage your engine and cause several problems to your fuel pump and fuel tank. Your carís fuel pump uses petrol as a coolant and when there is not enough gas in the tank, the fuel pump can become exposed and overheat. Continuously running on low fuel will wear out your fuel pump allowing air to be sucked in and causes the pump inside to overheat, as it was designed to sit submerged in the fuel.

Low fuel can also damage your fuel tank, many motorists arenít aware that rust and sediments such as dust, dirt and even rocks can enter your fuel tank under different circumstances. When you allow your car fuel tank to run low, the sediment in your tank can get sucked into the system and clog the fuel filter, the fuel-pump or even the fuel injector. This can have a negative effect on your mileage and fuel economy.

We recommend always keeping your tank at least ľ filled and always fill up before heading out on a long trip. You never know when you might get stuck in traffic and running out of fuel can add long delays to your journey!

Photo Credit: Boegh


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