You know your car like the back of your hand, so when your fuel gauge reads low, you know exactly how many miles you have left to get to a gas station. Or do you? Your confidence goes right out the window the moment you actually run out of gas. When your car runs out of fuel, your engine’s components can break down and cause significant damage. What types of damage can happen to your vehicle if you run out of gas?

Your car will shut down.

Once your car runs out of gas, your car will shut down as if the key was never in the ignition. This is dangerous because by this point if you haven’t been able to pull over to a safe spot, your car will stall exactly where it is.

It will become harder to brake and steer.

Your brakes will feel heavier and will require more leg power to push. When you run out of gas, your engine will shut off and thus shut off the brake’s hydraulics. Your steering wheel will suffer a similar effect. You’ll need to use more muscle to turn the wheel and steer your vehicle.

Your fuel pump may get damaged.

When your car hits E, the lack of fuel will cause your fuel pump to become overworked. If your fuel pump becomes overworked, it can overheat, which leads to severe damage. Always fill your tank before it gets below 25% full.

Your fuel injectors may not filter properly.

Your fuel injectors are small nozzles that spray gas into your engine and prevent impurities from entering. When your fuel levels are low or empty, impurities are more likely to travel through the fuel lines and clog the fuel injectors. If you refueled your vehicle and it won’t stay running, this could indicate damage. After refueling, try priming your gas tank by turning on the electrical components without turning on the engine. Turn the car off and on a few times. If this still does not resolve the issue, you should consult a trusted automotive specialist.

Most drivers keep their vehicles adequately fueled, but life happens. Know your route and take an extra few minutes to gas up. Most cell phones have a GPS function that can show the nearest gas station to your location. Keep your vehicle’s tank at least 1/4th full. If you experience any problems, an experienced technician can help diagnose any issues.

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