10 reasons NOT to drive on an empty tank of fuel


According to insurer LV=, 827,000 motorists had to be rescued after running out of fuel last year. The insurer says the number of drivers breaking down with empty tanks has risen year-on-year since 2011.

Here are the top ten reasons not to take the risk, and avoid driving when the fuel gets too low.

10 reasons NOT to drive on an empty tank of fuel

You don't have as much fuel left as you think

According to the figures, we don't take the engine warning light seriously enough. Men on average believe that when the warning light comes on, they can drive for at least another 31 miles, while women on average think they have another 26 miles left. Around a quarter of all drivers thought they could go another 40 miles when the warning light was on.

You risk serious damage to your car

Running out of fuel can lead to a lot more than a call to the AA: it can actually damage your car. For instance, if you run out of petrol, your fuel pump can suck in the dirt on the bottom of the tank, clogging it and forcing a costly replacement.

Most people don't realise it's a problem

The main issue seems to be knowledge and experience, with two thirds of the motorists running out of petrol being under the age of 35. Some even believe information about running out of fuel should be included in the driving test.

Fuel gauges are not exact

The amount of fuel your gauge is telling you may not be what you have: fuel gauges are still measured by a float, which can change depending on whether or not you're on a hill, for instance.

Each car has a different range

For some cars, the number of miles people think they can drive after the warning light (see above), is correct. The Mercedes C-Class, for example, can go an average of 46 miles. But other cars, like the Vauxhall Astra, will give up the ghost after 26 miles, and most motorists forget there's a difference.

Modern cars are actually worse at dealing with it

Modern cars are more sensitive, and have a much shorter tolerance for issues. This has led to great developments in motoring, but also makes them more likely to be damaged by running out of fuel.

"Freewheeling" doesn't work

Freewheeling, the habit some drivers have of letting the car coast out of gear to save fuel, actually doesn't help. Modern cars actually use more petrol up out of gear than they do in gear, as long as the accelerator isn't being touched.

Some "tips" actually don't help

Turning off the car's engine in a jam will save you fuel... so long as you leave it off for at least a minute. Any shorter than that, and the car will actually use up more fuel to restart then it would otherwise.

It can hurt your insurance

Having to call out roadside services can be rough, especially for problems that could have been prevented. These call outs are all taken into account when your premiums are due to be renewed.

It rarely pays off to look for the cheaper fuel

While some motorists are happy to drive around with a warning light on, in search of cheaper fuel, most mechanics would advise stopping to get £10 worth of fuel, to prevent the risk of having to spend £1,000 on repairs


Alex Todd Brand Manager at Easyinsure commented "Running out of fuel can damage your engine, while driving with very low fuel reserves can lead to problems such as blocked filters."



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