Running on Empty


Running out of fuel is not only an inconvenience but can do costly damage to your car writes Suzanne Keane

A study from Topaz has shown that 60% of motorists will only fill up their car when it’s in the red. The study has also shown that 1 in 10 of us have run out of fuel while driving.

While running out of fuel on the go may seem like just an inconvenience it can cause damage to your car (along with making you late). Even running your tank low isn’t advisable as silt and dirt in fuel will always sink to the bottom of the tank and can be dragged up into the engine when the fuel level is low. Running out on a regular basis can cause your fuel pump to fail as the liquid keeps it cool and lubricated so saving a few minutes by not filling up can cost you more in the long run through mechanical damage – never mind the inconvenience of being stuck at the side of the road waiting for help to arrive.

When your fuel runs out it’s not just the engine that will cut out – you’ll also lose all assisted braking, power steering etc. which will make getting your car to a safe place even more difficult. Other electrical items will keep working as long as the battery has power but use them sparingly or you may end up needing a jump start too!

Aside from damage risks filling up in a panic will also mean you’re not shopping around to get the best value for your tank – if you cover roughly the same mileage each week make sure to fill up at regular intervals as this will let you know if any issues arise with your car that are causing an increase in fuel consumption and always buy your fuel in litres and not cash amounts.

Another worrying finding of the survey is that only 1 in 4 will check their tyre pressures – see our tyre guide here.

Suzanne Keane

23rd September, 2017



Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for Retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @g60girl

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1 Comment

  1. Also if you have the system Citroen use for example on the C5 Diesel, each and every time you open the filler cap to put in fuel the system automatically injects an additive, Elyos Oil, to the fuel to assist in burning off the soot. If you do not fill up your car each time you will end up injecting the same amount into the smaller amount of fuel as a fill up. The result is that the tank will empty by about 80,000 miles whereas if you filled each time it would last to about 120,000 miles. There is no indicator for this oil tank, it depends on the servicing regime if its with a Citroen Dealer, if the level is checked. The tank is hidden under the wheel arch and not accessible by a car owner. The car most likely has changed ownership and there is no way the new owner will know about this tank. The result is the Particulate Filter Clogging warning light will show on dash and an expensive job follows, €1200 to replace with a factory recycled unit, more expensive for a NEW unit. Good Diesel fitter Services can now do a deep clean of the Particulate Filter for about €500.
    Yes there’s a lot there but it’s expense a purchaser of a used Citroen knows nothing about.

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