Running on close to empty

HOW many miles can you actually travel when your fuel warning light comes on?
Fuel economy is incredibly important and now modern cars tell you how much range you have left, but what if you get stuck miles away from a petrol station when your tanks ticks over to empty?

Every driver has felt the dread when the fuel needle hits empty and the warning light glows on the dashboard. Ideally, you should never let your car hit empty before getting it refuelled, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

Cars don’t immediately shut down as soon as you hit zero as there is usually some fuel left in the tank as a reserve, for this very eventuality. But, how much further can your car travel when it hits empty?

Of course, there is no way to give a definitive answer on how many miles you can continue on for. This is because of the amount of variables that affect the fuel economy. Your driving style, average speed, road surface, temperature, make and model of your car, engine size among others drastically impact how thirsty or frugal the car is.
Research conducted in 2016 by Your Mechanic revealed data about a number of cars and how they performed when the needle hit zero. The results showed:

1. Ford Fiesta – 38 miles,
2. Vauxhall Corsa – 32 miles,
3. Ford Focus – 41 miles,
4. Volkswagen Golf – 42 miles,
5. Nissan Qashqai – 43 miles,
6. Volkswagen Polo – 41 miles,
7. Vauxhall Astra – 33 miles,
8. Audi A3 – 40 miles,
9. Mini – 45 miles,
10. BMW 3 Series – 44 miles.

Just because there is reserve fuel in your car, however, it doesn’t mean you should use it or rely on it, as when fuel levels get low the car can start picking up debris from the bottom of the fuel tank. This can damage the fuel filter and pump and also have a negative effect on the catalytic converter.
If your fuel pump runs dry as a result of you running out of fuel, it can land you a bill of up to €250 to repair.

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