Here’s Why You Should Never Drive Your Car On Empty

Here’s Why You Should Never Drive Your Car On Empty

Nov 15, 2023

We’ve all been in the situation where you’re driving along, possibly singing a song, when suddenly *DING* a low fuel warning light pops up and ruins all your fun because you have to take a detour and fill up on fuel. For some motorists, the first appearance of a low-fuel warning light is enough to make them start plotting the safest route to the closest petrol station straight away. Others choose to ignore that warning light on the dash when fuel is in very short supply in a bid to eke out every last drop to maximise their mileage.

If you are waiting until you are running on fumes before filling up then this practice can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Wondering how? Read on…

1. Wearing out the fuel pump

The fuel pump relies on the fuel in the tank to keep it cool and lubricated as it flows around it. Running the car with a low tank means that the pump does not get the same level of lubrication as it normally would. If you drive while being low on fuel consistently, it is at risk of overheating which can lead to the premature failure of the fuel pump.

2. Dirty Fuel Filter

Your fuel pump also has a fuel filter, which can quickly get dirty if you drive with a low tank. As the petrol level gets low you’ll start picking up debris from the bottom of the tank, which could result in the fuel filter getting blocked or could take in dirty fuel. This could also force a costly replacement to both the fuel filter and the pump.

3. Danger, danger!

Your vehicle won’t go anywhere if it doesn’t have any fuel in it. The consequences of running out of fuel can be very dangerous, especially if it happens on a busy road or motorway, as you would experience a sudden loss of power to your engine. Your engine would cut out and you would lose your power steering and power brakes making controlling your vehicle very difficult.

4. Fuel gauges are not exact

Fuel gauges are not always very accurate, and can give you a misleading view of how much you have left in the tank. It’s better to get into the habit of thinking of the low-fuel light as a final warning, rather than driving around with it on. It’s also important to be aware that speed affects the amount of fuel that your car is using. Plus, the capacity of the reserve tank can vary between different car models, so it’s important not to rely on this.

5. Stress!

The road can be an anxious and stressful place and matters can be made worse if you start to panic because you are low on fuel. Driving in this state of heightened tension could lead to an accident so make sure you have some peace of mind by ensuring you have at least half a tank of fuel in your car.

If you do happen to run out of fuel, its4women’s breakdown cover means you’ll never be stuck by the side of the road in Ireland. If you have an its4women Premier Plus car insurance policy, our breakdown assistance service can help you out. From getting a wheel changed or starting the car on a cold morning in your driveway, to being stopped in the rain on the hard shoulder, you will have breakdown cover that covers you until someone can come and help at any time of the day or night. 

Lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, (including bank holidays). Call them from the United Kingdom on 028 904 85219 and from the Republic of Ireland on 01 804 4328.  

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