What happens when your car runs out of fuel.

Prateek Wadhawan
Est. Reading Time 2 mins

The straightforward answer is - your car stops with no warning. It can be very harrowing, especially if you’re on a busy road or in the middle of nowhere. You have to then push your car to the nearest petrol station or call a tow truck. Regardless, it’s sure to be a terrible inconvenience. Moreover, it can also damage your car.

How to tell your car is running out of fuel

The blinking light on your dashboard & the gauge near the E mark will be your first indicator that fuel levels are low.

Another big indicator is if your car won’t start or your engine will start sputtering. A car needs a certain amount of fuel to get started. Even if you manage to get your car running, it will probably keep stalling periodically.

These are all clear indications that your car is running out of fuel.

What does driving on no fuel do to your car?

Your engine light will start blinking when your fuel levels are low, but a lot of people mistakenly believe that they have a while before their fuel runs out.

This window before your indicator starts blinking and your car completely stops is shorter than you think. It differs across manufacturers but you can only safely assume you’d be able to drive about 25 miles.

Lot of drivers don't take the engine light seriously and it leaves them stranded when their car runs out of fuel suddenly. It also damages your car’s critical parts. Your fuel is the life source of your vehicle. Driving on low or no fuel reduces the life of components like your engine & fuel pump.

Your fuel filter can also get clogged. Your fuel tank collects sediment & debris that usually collects at the bottom of your tank. Driving on no fuel will bring up the debris collected at the bottom and can create a blockage on your fuel filter.

What should you do if you run out of fuel?

First you need to make sure to get out of harm’s way. If you feel your engine sputtering or that you’re about to run out of fuel, pull over as soon as you can.

If your car stops in the middle of the road, as safely as possible, push it to the side of the road.

Next, call for help. One option would be to call a tow truck to tow your car to the nearest petrol station. Another is to call a family member or friend for assistance.

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