Do You Wait Till Your Gas Light Comes On To Fill Up Your Vehicle?

When do you fuel up - when you’re on “E” or before that?

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I do it often as I know I have ~60 miles left when it comes on. I drive by Costco often enough that I almost never have to panic and stop and get gas just any where. However, I always have gas in cans in my garage on the rare occasion it gets too low and I need to put some in to get me to where I need to go. Lately, I get gas in my neighboring state as it’s 50+ cents/gal cheaper and only a few miles out of the way.

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Check your car. Many (Most) cars have the fuel pump in the gas tank and use the gasoline in the tank to keep the fuel pump cool.
when the fuel level is low, the fuel pump gets hot and can burn out and die.

To extend the life of the fuel pump keep your fuel tank above 1/4 full.


A long time ago I heard Clark talk about gas-buying strategy in times of gas price changes. He said to look for the “pumpers,” (high volume stations,) when gas prices are falling and use low-volume stations when gas prices are going up.

The reason, Clark said at the time, was because gas stations set their prices based on what it costs them when they buy it from their supplier. I’ve followed that advice ever since and for the most part, it works.

I usually fill up around a quarter tank unless I’m on a long trip and don’t know where the pumpers are then I look for a Costco or Maverick station.

All of mine are in the gas tank. I’ve heard this before but after decades of driving these cars I’ve never replaced a single fuel pump. Can’t say it won’t happen, just hasn’t.

For our one ICE vehicle we generally try to fill it up at 1/4 a tank remaining.

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I will agree I shouldn’t do this. I discovered last summer that the gas light on one of my cars doesn’t work and ran out of gas. My bad. A few years ago my daughter pushed it too far and ran out of gas on the freeway and was able to get off at an off ramp. With little shoulder, she pulled off as far as she could and walked to a gas station. When she got back 10 minutes later, a FedEx driver texting on his phone hit her car at 40+ mph. What if she had been putting gas in the car when that happened?

So yes, all sorts of reasons not to push it.

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Not only does the fuel cool the pump but also lubricates it. Not a good idea at all to run very low. The 1/4 tank rule is good.

A clogged fuel filter can make the pump work harder and wear it out. Look up where the filter is on your car and replace it every 20 or 30,000 miles. My 2 previous cars ( 1988 Olds Ceira and 1999 Monte Carlo) the filter was a small steel canister just below the drivers door. Pretty easy replacement.

We lived on a houseboat on the Cal Delta for two years. Think of the Delta as a giant campground or national park, only on water. There is nothing around for miles.

We never let our tank get below 1/2 full.

Almost always fill up at Costco. If I am running low, I get a few gallons elsewhere to get me there.

I’ve seen it $0.70 cheaper at Costco on the Big Island compared to other stations. It’s nice Costco puts their stores right next to the airports over there. Last week on Maui it was $0.50 cheaper at Costco than the other stations.

I let it run down to lightsville every time… it’s the only way one can check if the light is still working. :wink:

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My weekly trip to Costco always includes gas whether it’s been a 400 mile or 50 mile week.

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I know you’re joking but when you first turn your key on (before cranking) you get a light bulb check for a second or 2.

Duh, that’s true, but it only tells me the bulb is working, not that the lower fuel sensor is doing its job. I’m the belt and suspenders type. :innocent:

I think it’s a myth. I’ve never even heard of anyone damaging their fuel pump by running the tank close to empty. I do it all the time and have never had a fuel pump failure.

I’ve “heard” it’s because the pump is lubed that way. I cannot believe a pump would be lubricated by gasoline,

It doesn’t make a lick of sense. Even if the gasoline is needed for lube or cooling, there would be a cut-off switch to prevent operation if the level got too low. Without that, manufacturers would have a lot of warranty claims and lose customer goodwill. Maybe that was an issue with some model somewhere along the line, but there’s no way that was a known problem 25 years ago (when I first heard this myth) and is still an unsolved problem.

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I fuel up at about a quarter tank remaining. I usually never let it go below that because I’ve heard that you get better mileage this way. I will sometimes fill up at half full as well, but I never ever wait until fuel is at a very low point.

Ha ha ha! How would that possibly work? Someone was pulling your leg.