Knowing how to read a gas gauge should be simple: E is for empty, F is for full. There is no easier way to make that more obvious.
However, is it really necessary to wait for the dial to point to E before you scramble to the nearest gas station for a refill? What if you’re caught in the middle of the unforgiving Los Angeles traffic and you’re miles away from the nearest Shell? How about if there’s an emergency and someone needs to be rushed to the hospital, which is 1/3 of a full tank away? Literally, life could depend on how docile or defiant you were in paying attention to your gas gauge.
Evidently, what is dismissed as simple as two letters isn’t quite too simple after all.
So, let’s—pardon the pun—fill in the blank: plan to refuel when your gauge reads ______.
Well, the car community is not in exact agreement for a definitive answer. Some say you should keep your gas tank no less than 1/2 full. Others are fine with 1/4. Still, there are some who push it to 1/8. But regardless of the difference, everyone concurs that waiting for the gas tank to hit empty is risky and utterly inconvenient.
To which John Ibbotson, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center shop supervisor and certified mechanic, has to add: “While the cases are rare, there is real potential of a costly mechanical problem.”
Talk about adding extra and untimely expense to an otherwise tricky equation.
And while it’s not entirely true anymore that running on less than a quarter of a tank will result in picking up crud or water from the bottom (because the fuel line siphons from the tank’s bottom, anyway), it’s still probably safer to refuel way before the gauge reads empty. Why? Because in a lot of vehicles today, the fuel pump sits inside the fuel tank and gasoline actually cools the pump. There’s a chance that if the tank is nearly emptied, the pump will overheat.
While there are varying opinions about this matter, at least one person in the Auto Parts Warehouse community agrees that there’s a risk of the pump overheating when you refuel near empty:
Plan to Refuel Ahead of Time and Make Sure Your Gas Gauge is Working
Aside from always planning to refuel before your tank’s empty, it helps to ensure your gas gauge is always working. This is because it allows the easiest way to monitor the level of gas in your car in real time. Tank already half empty? Refuel. Tank already quarter empty? Refuel.
Troubleshooting a wonky fuel gauge comes down to zeroing in on the problem—is it the sending unit, the fuse, the wiring, or the gauge itself that’s causing the glitch? All of these components could, in part, be the reason why your gas gauge fluctuates and gives erratic readings.
So, is your fuel gauge not reading correctly and troubleshooting doesn’t quite cut it? Then it might be time for a replacement. Auto Parts Warehouse has a lot of top-quality options for you—all of which are sold at prices that won’t put a dent on your wallet.
APW also offers discounts on top of our already low prices and provides free shipping for all orders amounting to $50 or more. Speedy delivery is guaranteed as well.
Fuel gauge not working? Check out our available replacements here: https://bit.ly/2EiRh7S.