When petrol prices get high, it can always be tempting to try to eke out just a little bit more from your car, putting off that dreaded trip to the pump for just that little bit too long. Many of us are guilty of driving around for surprising amounts of time with our low fuel lights on, but that isn’t always the best choice. Not only is it extremely anxiety inducing to know that there’s a real chance your car could simply putter to a stop at any moment, operating your car with critically-low levels of fuel puts a real strain on your vehicle.
In this blog, the team at the A Grade Automotive Network spell out a few of the unintended side effects of not filling up when you should. Read on and treat your car just that bit better with our help.
Increased wear and tear
The old adage is that your car should ideally never drop below a quarter of a tank, and while the specifics will vary from vehicle to vehicle and make to make, there are consequences to driving around with low levels of fuel. One of the most significant risks is damage to the fuel system, where dirt and contaminants may obstruct what little fuel there is. If these contaminants escape past the filter, then they can block injectors and injector pumps – causing damage that can be very costly to fix.
Another component potentially at risk from running on low levels of fuel is the electric fuel-pump motor, which uses fuel in the tank as a coolant. In some cars, low levels of fuel can potentially result in overheating of the motor leading to premature wear and failure.
Aside from the less obvious wear and tear risks, there’s the simple danger of being marooned somewhere without a functioning car. While many drivers take the fuel gauge as gospel, it’s important to remember that it’s only a rough estimate of the fuel available in the tank, and in many cases may be purposefully inflated to avoid drivers running entirely out of fuel. Depending on a range of factors such as ambient temperature, driving speed and road surface, your car could run out of fuel far faster or slower than what is predicted by your fuel gauge.
If you’re concerned about how quickly your car is burning fuel, you may have a mechanical problem. Get it looked at by the people who understand cars best and speak to your local AGAN member business today.