How Far Can I Drive With The Gas Light On?

How far can I drive with my gas light on before running out of gas?

When your gas light comes on, you have an average of 30-50 miles before you run out of gas. The type of vehicle, how hard you are accelerating, the speed, and load of the vehicle will all have an impact on how far you can drive with your gas light on.

How much gas is left when the gas light comes on?

Typically, cars have between 2-4 gallons of fuel remaining in the gas tank when the gas light illuminates on the dash. It is recommended to get to a gas station immediately especially if you are on a road trip, gas stations can be far away.

How many miles can you get on empty?

Most cars will drive another 30-50 miles after the gas light comes on. Hard acceleration, fast speed, and a heavy loaded vehicle will all decrease the distance until you run out of fuel.

Also any heavy electrical loads like the head lights and air conditions can decrease fuel mileage as well.

How do I conserve gas when the gas light comes on?

Turn off all accessories and loads on the vehicle that are not needed to safely operate the vehicle:

  • Turn off your air conditioning
  • Turn off any unused electrical loads (radio, fans, DVD player, chargers, etc.)
  • Avoid heavy acceleration
  • Follow the posted speed limit (going faster will burn more fuel)

Be prepared if you run out of gas.

If you find yourself getting low on gas and are not sure if you will make it to the next gas station, you should consider several things:

1. What lane will you be in?

Drive in a lane that allows you to exit out of traffic, in case your vehicle stalls.

2. Are you close to a busy street or road way where you can get help?

Get to a busy area which should allow for a better chance of help if flagging down help is required.

3. Did you see a "call box" or rest area?

Pay attention to your surroundings for purposes of safety, help, shelter, warmth, and food.

4. Should you stay in your car or exit and walk for fuel?

Exiting the vehicle could be risky. There are many people each year that get struck by motorists while broken down on the road. Exercise extreme caution. The rule of thumb is to stay in your vehicle until help arrives, especially if you are in the middle lanes or in a heavy traffic area.

What happens when I run out of fuel?

If you run out of fuel there is the obvious, the car shuts off and will leave you stranded. When the gas runs out you also risk pulling in dirty fuel or any contaminates from the bottom of the gas tank.

Another downside of running out of gas is running your fuel pump dry and/or setting a check engine light.

Do I need to do anything special when I fill the car back up with fuel?

The process of filling up the vehicle’s gas tank is the same. If you happen to run out of fuel, you probably pulled air into your gas lines.

Fill up the gas tank (even a few gallons is okay) and crank the car. It will take longer than usual to start (up to 10 seconds of cranking) but the vehicle should start.

If the car doesn't start at this point, cycle the key off, wait 10 seconds, then try again. Don't pump the gas pedal (unless your car has a carburetor - usually a car older than 1985). If your car still doesn't start, you may have another problem besides running out of gas.

In closing, we advise you to drive as few miles as possible when the gas light comes on!

As always, if you have any further questions regarding the fuel system feel free to contact A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. or call 650-946-1856.


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose.  Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.

Categories: Car Maintenance
A+ Japanese Auto Repair, Inc. is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call A+ Japanese Auto Repair, Inc. (650) 595-2277 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.