What Happens If My Car Runs Out of Gas?

by Geoff Hineman
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When your car runs out of gas, it is often at the worst time and most likely in an inconvenient location. Many drivers are guilty of passing by the gas station when they are in a hurry to get where they are going and thinking, "I can make it." However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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Generally, running out of gas will not cause any problems with your vehicle. It is possible, however, that your fuel pump could fail as a result of running out of fuel. Without fuel running to the pump, the pump can seize up. As a precautionary measure, turn the ignition off as soon as you realize you are running out of gas.


As a general rule, you should keep at least a quarter of a tank of gas in your car at all times to avoid running out. If you have a low fuel gauge on your vehicle, heed its warning. The warning should not serve as merely a suggestion that you may need to fuel up soon. If you get low enough on fuel for your low-fuel warning light to come on, make your next stop the gas station.


If you run out of fuel, pull off to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If you are on a busy highway, stay in your car. If you have a cell phone, call a friend or family member for help. If you are approached while in your car, roll the window down just enough to converse with the person who approached you. If you are in a safe and familiar area, you can walk to the nearest gas station to get some fuel.

Roadside Assistance

If you are a member of AAA or similar agencies that offer roadside assistance, you may be covered by that plan to have fuel delivered to you for a nominal fee.

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