What Happens When a Car Runs Out of Gas?

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Many times, a vehicle acts differently when it is about to run out of gas. Common signs include sputtering or shaking when the fuel level is very low. Ultimately, a car that runs out of fuel ceases to function, leaving the driver stranded until fuel is added to the tank. In addition, when a car runs out of gas, there is an increased risk of having the fuel pump fail.

The fuel pump relies on the fuel in the vehicle to cool and lubricate the pump, ultimately seizing up if there is a lack of fuel. When a car runs out of gas, the ignition should be turned off so as not to exacerbate a possible fuel pump failure. However, in many instances after a vehicle has run out of fuel, once the tank has been refilled, it continues to drive normally.

Car manufacturers offer different fuel gauges, some of which may be slightly more accurate than others.

In general, it is a good idea to refill the car when the gauge reads one-quarter full or as soon as possible after the low fuel warning light comes on. To avoid becoming stranded when the fuel runs out, it is a good idea to pull over safely if the car begins to exhibit symptoms of low fuel.