Don’t Gamble With an Empty Gas Tank

A stock photo of a vehicle's fuel gauge.

How Far Can You Drive on Empty?

After a busy day at work and dealing with family needs, it’s pretty easy to forget to stop for gas before getting home for the day. Sometimes, that leads many of us to gamble and try to stretch the fuel in our vehicles to the absolute limit. If you’re the gambling type, you might have wondered, ‘How far can you drive on empty?’ According to online sources and our team of expert service technicians, the average vehicle can travel between 50 and 80 kilometres when the fuel gauge reads empty. However, that isn’t all there is to the story.

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Is it Bad to Drive on an Empty Gas Tank?

Just about every online source we found, as well as every technician in our service department, vigorously warned against making driving around with an empty gas tank a regular habit. Our team of technicians outlined a couple of important reasons for keeping at least a quarter tank of fuel in your tank at all times.

  • Over the years, it’s not uncommon for contaminants to collect at the bottom of a gas tank as the vehicle gets older. Routinely letting the tank be empty increases the chances the internal float pump will pull in things it shouldn’t, causing catastrophic and expensive damage to the fuel pump.
  • Since the pump floats in the fuel in the tank, the liquid fuel itself acts as a way to keep the pump cool. If it regularly runs dry, that pump can overheat and fail. Replacing a fuel pump can be an expensive event.

Can Driving on Empty Damage Other Car Parts?

If a fuel pump picks up contaminants, those particles will travel through the fuel system, eventually clogging up the fuel filter further upstream. Additionally, when the contaminated fuel is burned and the exhaust gas moves through the exhaust system it can damage the catalytic converter, reducing its effectiveness and lifespan.

If it’s been a while since you brought your vehicle to us for service, make an appointment with the Davis Chevrolet Service Department, today.