Some people have a tendency to utilize the last drop of fuel being unconscious of filling the fuel tank. It’s definitely not a good practice. Some costly repairs and issues can arise when you are running on low fuel regularly.
In this article, I’ll share how you can identify the problems of running a car on low fuel and the possible replacement and repair costs with some useful tips.
Let’s see 5 costly reasons for which you shouldn’t run a car on low fuel.
Table of Contents
1. Wear Out of the Fuel Pump
Driving on low fuel can hamper the fuel pump of your car. A fuel pump can’t perform properly having low fuel in the fuel tank.
Fuel helps to cool the fuel pump as well as works as a lubricant. Having low fuel in the tank leads to wear-out conditions before getting damaged.
The fuel pump of your car may be in wear-out condition or damaged, it’ll show some signs. Having a sharp look at these consequences, a decision can be taken.
A faulty or damaged fuel pump loses power in speed-up condition. The car may jerk or sputter having a faulty fuel pump.
A worn-out fuel pump fails to manage a consistent flow of fuel that may cause unwanted acceleration known as surging. It’s also possible to hear unwanted loud noises while driving.
You need to spend somewhere between $200 and $800 to replace your damaged or faulty fuel pump. The replacement cost may vary considering your living place, type of car, product and labor availability, etc.
The parts of the fuel pump can cost $100 to $400. Considering difficulty and work time, labor costs can be somewhere between $100 to $400.
Also read: Can a Car Run without a Fuel Pump? Yes, but…
2. Clogged Fuel Filter
Running your car on low fuel can make your fuel filter clogged. Contaminants settled in the bottom of the fuel tank can be turned into sludge over time.
The fuel pump generally sucks the sludge up to the engine if there exists a low amount of fuel. The fuel filter becomes faulty as a consequence of the sludge.
Indeed, a clogged fuel filter can’t perform like a good one. It shows some symptoms that help to understand the situation of the fuel filter.
A clogged filter will face difficulties to maintain the engine’s power when under stress. It may also cause engine misfire as sufficient fuel flow is difficult to provide in the engine cylinders.
It’s possible to experience engine stalling with a clogged fuel filter due to insufficient fuel supply. You’ll see a drop in fuel economy also.
A fuel filter generally costs somewhere between $14 to $60. But the labor cost makes the total replacement cost a little bit higher.
On average, the total replacement cost will be around $70 to $160 including both parts and labor. However, this may slightly vary considering different shops.
3. Faulty Fuel Injector
Fuel injectors work while the car is turned on. The high pressure and temperature of injectors are balanced by fuel as it works both as a coolant and lubricant.
Running low on fuel makes the injector suck rust particles from the fuel tank and become clogged. Gradually it tends to become faulty or damaged.
A fuel injector is an important part of the fuel pump system as it delivers fuel to the engine. Some symptoms are expected to be visible when the question of faulty or damaged fuel injector comes.
Faulty fuel injectors fail to maintain a balance between air and fuel. This situation leads to engine misfire and sputtering of the motor.
Fuel leakage is a common thing with faulty or damaged fuel injectors. Your engine may also surge providing a low fuel economy.
Many problems can arise because of a faulty or damaged fuel injector. The solution is to clean or replace the injector considering performance and overall situation.
The cleaning can be done in two ways. Using a bottle of fuel injector cleaner can cost you somewhere between $10 to $15 where a professional cleaning service can cost around $50 to $100.
Replacement of fuel injectors is necessary when they crack or break and stop functioning on their way. On average, you may need to pay between $350 to $850 to replace your fuel injector.
The cleaning or replacement cost may vary. Do some research before making your decision.
4. Shorter Lifespan & Costly Repairs
Running with low fuel shortens the lifespan of a car. A costly repair sometimes becomes mandatory as a result of running on low fuel regularly.
The sediments in your fuel tank are not harmful as long you’re not driving with low fuel. Running on low fuel can cause issues with fuel lines and engines as the sediments come out from the fuel tank.
Issues with the engine and other parts of the fuel system will put a noticeable effect on the lifespan. Rust will form in the fuel tank if it always contains low volume of fuel.
The engine of a car generally shows some warning signs when it starts to go bad. Solving these as early as possible can save time and money in the long run.
The engine light of a bad engine illuminates. It’s also common to lose power and mileage in a bad or faulty engine.
When the engine of your car faces difficulty in combustion, some annoying noises will be there. They can be named knocking, backfiring, spitting, hissing, etc.
The maintenance cost of a car is about $500 to $700 in a year. Issues with the engine and other parts can make it bigger, reducing the overall lifespan of your car.
5. Exposing to Dangerous Situations
If you form a habit of running on low fuel, it always keeps you in panic. The panic can lead you to some unwanted dangerous situations or incidents.
The road may seem to be a stressful place if you panic about running out of fuel every time. Driving in this condition can lead you to an accident.
You will never know where and when you have to stop if you have low fuel in your fuel tank. The stopping time and place need not be suitable always.
Think about a scenario where someone runs out of fuel at night. There is no filling station and road lights. Anything can happen to him.
In that kind of situation, a victim can be robbed. He may lose everything he has.
So, it’s never been a good decision to form a habit or like something to run always with a nearly empty fuel tank.
Do You Have to Regularly Run a Car on Low Fuel for This to Happen?
There are many issues related to running a car on low fuel. Some of them happen if you practice this regularly. Others may occur at any time without showing any alert.
Your fuel pump, filter, and the injector will get damaged if you run on low fuel for a long time. Unwanted accidents can happen at any time without any notification.
Why Should You Never Have an Empty Fuel Tank in Winter?
Having an empty fuel tank in winter is a bad idea that may lead you to some costly issues.
Condensation takes place in the fuel tank and starts to corrode the engine and fuel tank in the winter season. Your fuel lines can be in a condition of freezing having a low or nearly empty fuel tank.
Try to maintain your fuel tank at least half full in the winter. Running below that can cause costly repairing issues of the car.
How to Never Run a Car on Low Fuel Again?
Fuel prices vary considering the place, day, advertisements, etc. Doing some research can help you to fill your tank at the right time and right place. You can consider carrying a canister in the trunk and fill it up when the price goes down.
Avoiding aggressive driving and turning off the air conditioning at an unnecessary time can save your fuel in the fuel tank. Regular maintenance can help you to gain a better fuel economy.
What’s the Safe Level of Fuel in a Fuel Tank?
Having enough fuel in the fuel tank is always appreciable. It can give you advantages related to money, safety, and efficiency. However, you must be careful about keeping your fuel tank at least 1/4 full mark. It can be said as a safe level of fuel in the fuel tank. A safe level of fuel in the fuel tank prevents issues related to the fuel pump, filter, and injector.
How Long Can You Drive on Low Fuel?
Actually how long you can go having low fuel depends on the model and type of your car. The gaslight of modern cars turned on automatically, having 2 to 3 gallons of fuel left in the fuel tank.
The average fuel economy of modern cars, trucks, and SUVs is about 2 to 3 gallons per 100 kilometers. The distance will help you in case of an emergency.
How to Reach the Nearest Tank Station if Your Fuel Level is Very Low?
It’s possible to reach the nearest tank station if you look carefully at the fuel light. Most modern cars allow about 100 kilometers after the light is turned on.
It’s a wise decision to take help from mobile apps that inform you about the nearest filling station.