Why Running Out Of Fuel Is Bad For Your Car
Attractive girl opens the lid of the fuel tank in the car and puts red bailer inside to fuel the tank. Concept of filling fuel tank in the trip

Why Running Out Of Fuel Is Bad For Your Car

Many people claim that they know their car like the back of their hand. When the fuel gauge reaches the “E”, they figure that they can still run for miles. It’s like trying their luck until such time they get stalled in the middle of the road and out of fuel. Sure there are fuel delivery services available but should you let your car run out of fuel?

Running out of fuel may not be that bad for the car as long as it rarely happens. However, you should take note that the more this happens, the more you are risking your car into damage. Cars have many different parts and some of them push the fuel into the engine to run. However, if fuel runs out, the parts are likely to break down because they’re not pushing any fuel fluid into the engine anymore.

What Happens When You Run Out Of Fuel

When your car runs out of fuel, there are different damages that could start. Some of the damages and unwanted issues that you can experience are the following:

Damaged Fuel Pump

Like its name, the fuel pump is responsible for pumping fuel out of the tank and into the engine so it can be used to run the vehicle. Whenever you step on the gas pedal, you control the fuel pump to pump more fuel. This part of the car stays in the fuel tank and will do work fine as long as there is fuel to pump. The fuel doesn’t just power the engine, it also lubricates the pump so it can smoothly do its job. Without fuel, it is likely to overheat and get overworked, resulting in damage.

To prevent damaging the fuel pump and make sure that it lasts as long as it is intended to, most car experts and mechanics advise car owners to keep an eye on their fuel level. It shouldn’t be left below ¼ full.

Clogged Fuel Injectors

Another issue that could happen if you make it a habit to run out of fuel is the clogging of fuel injectors. Debris and impurities may be present in the fuel. Some are from the refilling stations and others are due to airborne impurities. Either way, they can form a layer of sediment that is usually found at the bottom of the gas tank. It is the fuel filter that removes any of the impurities that mix into the fuel before it reaches the engine. However, if the fuel gets too low, those concentrated impurities can be pushed through the fuel lines resulting in clogged fuel injectors.

This issue may be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms don’t immediately appear. Although one characteristic symptom of this issue is when your car doesn’t stay running when it runs out of gas.

After getting a fuel refill, try to prime the fuel pump first. This is done by switching the car “on” but not cranking the engine. In this state, the electronics in the car can be used but the engine hasn’t been started yet. Then, switch it back “off”. Do this a couple of times to prime the fuel pump. This helps remove the air that could have entered the fuel lines.

In case priming the fuel doesn’t keep your vehicle running, then you could have a cog and would need your fuel system to be inspected and cleaned. Sometimes, a clog is not the problem but the fuel injectors themselves. Replacing them is the only solution.

The Car Will Stall

A car that has run out of gas will shut down and that event will be very risky for you. First of all, you can get distracted because of what suddenly happened to your vehicle. It may cause you to panic and be less focused on your driving. You may also think that you’re already out of control of your car and you don’t know how to get out or keep your self safe because of it. That can lead you to take the wrong decision of just jumping out of the vehicle for fear of your life.

Brakes And Steering Feels Stiff

Although the brakes are still working, it can fill a lot harder to push down when you run out of fuel. This can lead you to believe that you can’t stop your vehicle safely anymore. However, you can still stop your vehicle using the brakes but it will take much more effort to step and press on the brake pads.

This is also true for the steering wheel. When the engine dies because you run out of gas, power steering will also stop working and you’d need a lot of elbow grease to control the wheel. Don’t be afraid because it can be tough to do but you still have control over the vehicle.

Final Words

Knowing what happens and what may happen to your car when you run out of the vehicle helps you prepare for the worse. When this happens, you should follow our 5-step guide to restarting your car that has run out of gas. Then make sure that this doesn’t happen again by keeping an eye on your fuel gauge.


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Green Light Towing Service is a fully insured and certified roadside service company covering Virginia Beach, VA and the surrounding communities. We operate on a 24/7 basis and take pride in our full suite of tow trucks and equipment to address your unique Road Service situation.

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