While rising fuel prices may make you want to stretch your fuel reserve as much as possible before topping up, there are some good reasons to not delay. While there’s the obvious possibility of running out of fuel and being left stranded on the side of the road, there are some other important reasons to not drive on an almost empty tank.
1. Avoid wearing out your fuel pump
According to experts, consistently running your car on low, or reserve, fuel can cause damage to your fuel pump. To work at its most efficient, a fuel pump needs sufficient fuel to stay lubricated. If you’re constantly running low, there’s not enough fuel to keep the pump protected, so it’s more likely to wear out or overheat. While running low on fuel once or twice may not damage your fuel pump, doing it time and time again will.
2. Prevent debris getting stuck in your fuel pump
While this is less of a problem in newer cars, running low on fuel could cause debris and particles to get stuck in the fuel pump, contributing to wear and tear and damage. This is because any particles or debris that may have found their way into your tank will have sunk to the bottom. This won’t cause an issue when your tank is full. However, when you’re running low, it’s more likely to get sucked up with the remaining fuel and get stuck in the pump or filter.
3. Avoid damaging your fuel filter
Like your fuel pump, your fuel filter can be affected when you’re running low on fuel. As mentioned, it’s likely to get clogged by debris that may be in your fuel tank. When blocked, this will slow the flow of gas to the engine. This, in turn, can result in misfires as your engine isn’t getting enough fuel, which can cause damage to your engine after time.
4. It makes it harder to start your car
Have you ever had trouble starting your car? You may have thought it was an issue with the battery, but it’s just as likely to be a lack of fuel in your tank. As mentioned above, if enough fuel doesn’t reach your engine it won’t work, or it may misfire, making it harder to start your car. Not being able to start your car could also be a sign of a damaged fuel pump or blocked filter – both of which prevent fuel from reaching your engine.
So, next time you see your fuel gauge nudging towards empty, take action and pull into your nearest petrol station as soon as possible. While this may mean paying a little extra at the pump today, it will mean money saved down the line.