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How far can you go when your fuel light goes on?

Don’t keep on driving until the tank is almost empty.

Did you know that when your fuel level drops low, the engine will start picking up debris from the bottom of the fuel tank and damage both the fuel filter and pump? Most drivers are ignorant of this fact, and some are daring enough to continue pushing their fuel limits despite the indicator blinking continuously. While most cars come with additional capacity, how sure are you that the capacity will be enough and whether it is healthy for the car if you keep driving till the tank almost runs dry?

Myth 1: Can you fill more than the official stated capacity of your car’s fuel tank?

The short answer is no. Even if the car somehow seems to take in more than what is shown in the manual it is not good for the car if you overfill your fuel. The reason why many think cars can accommodate more fuel is the inlet pipe or fuel neck that is attached to the tank. While the fuel neck may seem like nothing more than just a funnel to the tank, it plays a very important role.[1]

The stated fuel capacity for any car tank accommodates an additional air pocket that allows for fuel expansion during extremely high temperatures and prevents vapour locking. The official fuel capacity of your car takes into consideration the required air pocket space and that includes the fuel neck as part of the empty space. If the tank is overfilled, there will be no extra room for fuel to expand in extremely warm conditions, thus creating an extensive amount of pressure within the fuel tank’s walls. This would eventually lead to faster wear and tear, possibly causing further damage to car engines in the long run.

ROGER wants drivers to take note of their fuel capacities. Do not give your car more than what it needs and be sure to never drive till the tank runs dry, which brings us to our next point.

Myth 2: Can you drive 50 kilometres more once the fuel light turns on?

It depends. Different car makers have different total tank and reserve tank capacities. It also depends on how old your car is and when your car was manufactured. Why would this matter?

Older car models had a secondary fuel tank that carried about 15% of the primary chamber’s capacity. This meant that older cars with larger secondary capacities would allow drivers to travel longer distances before the fuel runs out. However, in the 2020s, e-vehicles and hybrid engines enabled cars to use less fuel and therefore they have smaller fuel tanks. This is something that one should keep in mind and should consider whenever your light indicator comes on. Your new e-vehicle or hybrid may not have as high a capacity as your previous car and may not go the fabled 50 kilometre journey that it once did.

Another point is the fuel efficiency of older cars versus newer cars. Ever felt that your car eats more fuel the older it gets? You are not exactly wrong – it is caused by the collective wear and tear it has gone through. If you are a car enthusiast, you would know that almost everything could possibly contribute to a lower fuel efficiency – from the way you drive to poor maintenance, not changing filters when one should, etc – the list is long. That is why it is so important to keep your car properly serviced, maintained and health checked by professionals to ensure that it is running in an optimum condition. Otherwise, not only will it cost you more in terms of fuel, you might end up paying more for repairs if your car breaks down.

When does your fuel run out and what happens when you drive till its empty?

 

Check with your local car manufacturer, car manuals and online official sites to discover how far you have left once the fuel indicator turns on. That said, knowing how far you can go does not mean that you can and should stretch your car to the brink of exhaustion before you refuel.

In fact, ROGER recommends that you head straight to the petrol station when your indicator lights come on and wait no longer than the next trip. Cars do not operate well with low fuel tanks as such conditions can create greater friction in engines. Over time, higher friction levels can lead to overheating and other auxiliary issues as a result of prolonged low fuel tank driving. Your car will then have to do more frequent workshop visits, or even spend more time on repairs, which can be costly. Another tip is to make petrol-fuelling a routine and not just a ‘when-empty’ habit. This can help with monthly budgeting and provides better management of your car ownership finances.

All said and done, we realize that sometimes there are just days when we simply forget things. If that happens, do not panic if your car splutters to a stop. Keep our contact close – you can dial us at 1800-888-505 (SOS). We will send you someone to help you refuel.

And when our app is out, download and use it. So you will never drive alone again.