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Symptoms of a Car Running Out of Gas

by Alexander Sam

In 2006, AAA estimated that around 116,000 motorists were left stranded on the side of the road because they ran out of gas. The risks of an empty fuel tank are more than just an inconvenience --- they can also potentially damage your vehicle. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a car running out of gas is the easiest way to protect your car, as well as to ensure a safe and efficient journey.

Gas Light

The most common symptom of your car running out of gas is the indicator on the dash that illuminates. Depending on the model of your vehicle, the light illuminates to indicate low gas levels, as well as to let the driver know that the car is now running on gas reserves. These reserves will carry a driver for as much as 25 additional miles, a safety precaution to allow the driver to find a gas station. In some other vehicles, after the light has been illuminated for some time and the driver still hasn't filled up the tank, the car begins to send a warning noise to let the driver know that there isn't much fuel left.

Won't Start

Cars require a certain level of gas to turn on the engine. In situations where the tank doesn't have enough gas to combust and use the starter, the car will fail to turn the engine on as a precautionary measure. During the starting of the engine, the engine uses fuel at the highest rate and therefore must have enough fuel in the tank to ensure the car starts and keeps running. A car that runs out of gas during operation has the potential to burn out the fuel pump, which is why cars often won't turn on when they're low on gas.

Car Stalls Regularly

If you do manage to get your car started despite having minimal fuel in your tank, there's still a chance that the car will start stalling. As the engine begins to run on gas fumes, the car's engine will begin to stall as you drive or sometimes just after the car starts. However, in some cases, stalling will also suggest that there's another problem with the car, so check your gas light and the fuel meter to see if the fuel tank is actually the problem.

About the Author

Alexander Sam is an avid photographer/traveler. After completing a trip across India, Thailand and Laos he decided that he wasn't made for the cubicle job. Presently he is backpacking across South America and hopes to find himself in another part of the world at this time next year. Sam studied sociology at York University.

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