Looking down at your dashboard to see the low gas warning light turn on can be a bit stressful, especially if you're on a dark road with no gas stations in sight. While most drivers understand that this light means to get to the gas station as soon as possible, how long can you actually drive your vehicle with this light on without filling up the tank?
The miles that you can continue to drive with an empty rank depend upon the make and model of your vehicle. If you have a newer model car, such as within the last 10 years, your vehicle more than likely has a function that tells you how many miles you have left until your car won't run. Typically, the low gas light will come on when this is between 30-50 miles. However, different vehicles with different engines will have varying mileage on an empty tank.
If you do see your low gas warning light turn on, don't panic. Try to find a gas station within 10 miles. You won't break down on the side of the road right away and will have time to find a place to fill up. However, don't push your car to its absolute limits. Get gas as soon as you can.
While you may be tempted to test your car and take it to its limits when it comes to gas, the truth is that driving on a low gas tank can actually damage your vehicle's fuel system. It can cause the fuel pump to overheat and it can take in dirt or sludge at the bottom of the tank which can clog the fuel filter. This can lead to a decrease in fuel efficiency and performance issue, and will typically need repairs to fix.
The best way to avoid these situations is to fill your gas tank when it gets down to a quarter full. You'll save yourself the anxiety of a low gas warning light and you'll keep your fuel system healthy.