Driving around with the low fuel light on is one of those things that we know we shouldn’t do but still let happen from time to time.
Most motorists today are pained at the thought of filling up with gasoline as prices hover around $4.00, but for those who put off the fuel stop until the last possible moment, the costs could be even higher.
Waiting until your gas tank is almost empty before a fill up can be pricey, could be dangerous and downright inconvenient.
‘There are dangers in two ways, one is that the sediment and rubbish that’s in the fuel tank can end up in the fuel filter and that in itself requires some servicing work,’ Steve Spalding from the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland told Yahoo 7.
But according to Mr. Spalding, the bigger risk is the fuel pump which can be very expensive to fix.
‘It could easily cost $500 to $1000 and if you run a fuel pump dry, there’s a fair chance that it won’t be recoverable and then you’ll end up in expensive repair and a tow.’
Driving on an empty tank, or even one that’s getting close to the dregs in the bottom can cause damage to your car in a number of ways.
You won’t get very far driving on empty, but in the moments before you do stall out, your car’s catalytic converter, which is part of the exhaust system, can be damaged.
A 2015 survey found that every year, hundreds of thousands of drivers ignore their car’s warning light, causing them to run out of gas and break down.
On top of that, 25% of drivers believed they can make it another 40 miles once the light turns on, and even more, drivers said they almost always drive with the light permanently on, usually hoping to find cheaper gas.
Here’s the problem: Most drivers don’t actually know how far they’ll make it after the warning light turns on. And on top of that, there’s more at stake than many people realize when you let your gas tank run that low.
But Robert Younus from the NRMA says it’s typically older model cars that run the risk of damage from not filling up your tank quick enough.
‘Cars with steel tanks tend to get more damage, but newer model cars with plastic tanks don’t really get damaged,’ Robert Younus told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr. Younus said the technology of newer cars is actually helping people get to the service station sooner, by a beeping that comes on when cars get below certain kilometers left in the tank.
‘Over the last 10 years the NRMA has seen a massive decrease in out-of-fuel call outs because of the technology in petrol tanks,’ Mr. Younus said.
Checking the wheel alignment, keeping your load light and inflating tires correctly are other ways to save the hefty mechanic fees.
In addition to potentially costly repairs to your car, driving on a low tank can be dangerous. If the car suddenly stops running, you could be stranded in a deserted area, or in the middle of a busy highway. And with many cars, the airbags don’t deploy if the car is turned off, putting you and any passengers in an even more dangerous situation.
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