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Low Fuel Light On....How Far Can You Go?

Some cars have a light that comes on. Some have an attention-grabbing tone. Other, older models just quietly sneak into the red zone. All have a needle pointing ominously to “E.” We’re talking about the “Low Fuel” warning. We’ve all been there. During a busy day, it’s easy to neglect that stop for a fill-up. Many times, we think it can wait: “Oh, I can go another 50 miles, easy,” we think. Maybe yes, maybe no.

The fact is that some mechanics say you should always keep at least a quarter-full tank. That’s because it’s bad for your fuel pump. How? The pump is submerged in fuel, and that keeps it cool. Letting it work out in the open air can cause overheating and an expensive repair.

We’re not the first to ponder this subject. A company called Your Mechanic did the research and found that the distance you can go with the fuel warning on varies wildly. For instance, a Ford Escape’s or Transit’s light comes on with 1/16th of a gallon left and it can keep on going another 35-80 miles. A Chrysler 200 beeps at you with three gallons left and will get you up to another 108 miles down the road. By contrast, a low-fuel indicator in the Hyundai Elantra means business: you’ve got 30 miles to find a gas station.

So the best advice is to always keep at least ¼ tank on board, both to avoid a visit to the mechanic and to avoid a long walk on a dark night to the nearest pump.

To make sure your vehicle is operating at its best, visit the pros at Pro Am Collision and Mechanical at 5285 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids. For best service, call us at (616) 363-9201 or schedule an appointment online.

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