Last Updated on April 19, 2021 by Bernard Juchli
When low on gas, you’d be tempted to ask, “how far can you drive with your fuel light on.” It varies, though. The type of car, manufacturer, and driving habit factors in the miles you can cover when the fuel light turns on.
I’ve driven a couple of different cars on low on fuel, and they all went empty at about 5 liters. On the highway, the vehicle would go empty on 40-50 miles (70-80 km) and 30-35 miles (50-60 km) in the city.
If I have to say how many miles you can go when on low fuel, I would say 25-30 miles, but your car mileage factors in my suggestion.
You can’t get the exact miles you can drive when the fuel light comes on, but do not drive for too long.
How Far Can You Drive with Your Fuel Light On?
How far you can drive with your fuel light depends on your car, driving habit, the road’s nature, and manufacturer. Although the automaker suggests the miles you can cover on low fuel, it may not be accurate. When on low gas, make sure to practice these driving habits to increase mileage.
When you read your car owner manual, you’d find that the low fuel light will turn off after refilling the tank. Typically, the light comes on when you have about two gallons. You may be able to go 35-40 MPG on the highway. To make a safe estimate, reduce it to about 30-35 MPG to have at least 50-60 miles more to find an open gas station. You may be fortunate finding a 24-hour pay at the pump.
Running low on gas happens daily, and you may be tempted to hesitate to use the first 24-hour station immediately. If your GPS takes you on another road with no open station, you’re in for a tough one.
Typically, car tanks run empty when you have below 10 gallons. Your gallons could go 10 8 7 7 7 7 6 5 5 5 4 3 2 2 2 2 11 0 0 0 0 0, meaning you need to find the nearest gas station ASAP. On a 12.6-gallon tank, for instance, when the hose clicks, you squeeze the nozzle until you secure an even dollar amount. Your gas fill-up could be 11.4 Gallons. So, you have about 1.2 gallons left. The best practice is to put a splash in your vehicle tank when next you make such a trip to drive home at least.
Is it OK to drive with fuel light on?
You may drive with the low fuel light on, but it is not OK to drive for too long. When you keep driving for a long period, your vehicle can pack sludges from the tank bottom, which clogs the filter or damage the fuel pump.
To a larger extent, it depends on the miles you get a gallon. A Corolla, for instance, has 2+ gallons, which typically goes 80 miles. A truck may have up to 5 gallons but may not exceed 60 miles.
When you do not know how much fuel is left in the tank, do not exceed 15 miles. Besides, you may have much water in the tank, thinking you still have fuel left, while you’re about a quarter tank out of fuel. When this happens, you may have to push your car down to the nearest station.
The tank might spring a leak, and you have to seal it with whatever option. So, when the fuel light comes on with water in your tank, you might have too few miles to get to the nearest station.
The major problem of driving for too long when the gas light turns on is collecting garbage in the tank. They settle at the bottom, even when fuel is moving around, but larger pieces remain stagnant. Gas pick-ups typically have mesh filters, but you do not want to have them plugged up. The lamp shows that you have to fill up, and it does not mean stop driving. Make sure to stay ahead of it always. Most drivers would not let their tanks go below 1/4, though.
Does Fuel Light on Mean No Gas in Tank?
No, the fuel light turning on does not mean no gas in the tank; it is a warning light indicating you have to fill up sooner. You still gas to locate the nearest gas station but must not drive for too long. In most vehicles, the furl light turns on at two gallons. Do not ignore the warning light, though. Besides, it is not as annoying as the check engine light that comes on without citing the problem.
Low gas light will flash, notifying that you have less gas in the tank. You may keep driving, but you may even go empty within 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your vehicle. If you go at 60 or 65 mph, you may drive up to 20 more miles with the light on.
How to Know How Many in Your Car When Gas Light is On
You can tell how many miles you have when the gas light turns on. Get your owner’s manual to confirm the size of your tank.
Alternatively, you can tell the exact miles remaining by refilling your tank fully when the fuel light comes on. Confirm the gallons you purchase and check the size of your fuel tank online. Now, subtract both numbers to get the remaining fuel in your gas tank whenever the warning light turns on. You may use the average miles per gallon to know the miles left with the light on.
Will Low Fuel Overheat Fuel Pump?
Yes, low fuel overheats the fuel pump. Understand that the fuel surrounding your fuel pump cools it, and the pump may overheat below 1/4 gas tank. The pressure does not matter at 10 inches, but your tank sucks dirt at the bottom when you’re low on fuel. The filter, serving as a strainer, can’t keep all dirt out.
To avoid overheating your fuel pump, do not drive on reserve for too long. You can test the reserve capacity by intentionally driving on E. Get a jerry can in the trunk and drive until you run out of gas.
Perform this test under cool weather. If you have an older car, it is a bad idea to run it to an empty tank.
The fuel light turning on does not mean you must stop driving immediately. However, you must not drive for too long with the gas warning light on to avoid overheating the fuel pump. You should fuel up within the 15 miles (20 km) or before the lamp turns on.
When you run on E, it can damage your fuel pump. Moreover, running on low fuel in a tank encourages your car to collect debris from the tank bottom, clogging your fuel filter.
You’d be straining the fuel pump, and it’s is dangerous to wait until the fuel pump overheats since they are designed to submerge.
Meanwhile, you may check out a researched list of the best low fuel consumption Toyota cars to buy.