By Lauren Ferrone
Published: Thursday, September 7, 2017
Updated: February 20, 2019 at 12:43 pm
If your car has been well maintained, it's unlikely driving while low on fuel will cause much damage. You might, however, experience some problems if it's an older car. Here's why...
As the fuel gets low, debris starts to collect at the bottom of the tank. So, regularly driving with a tank that’s nearly empty could cause damage over time and make it harder to get rid of impurities in the fuel, which can then gradually make their way to the engine.
But, in most cases, driving around on a thirsty tank isn’t nearly as bad as you’d think. You’re simply likely to end up on the side of the road, wishing you’d filled up sooner.
It might be worth knowing how far you can travel after the low-fuel warning comes on. Each car’s different and, while it has a lot to do with the condition of the road and your driving habits, you can generally last about 20km to 60km before the engine shuts off.
Ignoring the light
The number of call-outs our patrols have attended this year after a member ran out of fuel.
Again, this won’t actually damage a car that’s in good condition, but it will cause unnecessary hassle, so think of the low-fuel light as a ‘final warning’.
Try to also stay on top of your car’s maintenance and check or replace fuel filters as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, to keep the fuel system in good shape – whether it’s old or new.
If you do get stuck, our Road Service patrols can help by giving you a top-up so you can reach a nearby petrol station. In fact, in the past year, we’ve helped more than 4000 drivers who’ve found themselves stranded on an empty tank.