Running Out of Gas


Running Out of Gas 
 
First off, let's state the obvious. It is not a good idea to let your car run out of gas, and realistically, it's pretty easy to avoid. In addition to the obvious fuel gauge dipping lower, many cars now let you know approximately how many miles you have left in your tank, and you can't say you weren't warned. 
 
However, it can still happen. Sometimes all these technological advances give us a false sense of confidence. Why rush when your car thinks it has twenty miles left? Remember that time you drove when the car was down to ONE mile? You might feel like you'll be fine, but circumstances aren't always ideal. Your car thinks it has twenty miles based on your average MPG consumption, but what if you get stuck in traffic? 
 
I'm guilty of pushing the envelope, usually because I'm either in a rush or I'm certain I can get a better deal if I can just get to a certain station or area. I'm a bargain shopper who loves my deals, and I've figured out that if I combine gas points with a certain location and wait until I'm TOTALLY empty, I can get the best bang for my buck. I'm also confident that I know exactly how much fuel I have when my gas light first shows up, and based on the lower end of my average MPG, I know what time and distance I can play with. This is totally risky, and I had one really close call when I truly believe I was running on fumes, so I decided to look into exactly how bad it is. 
 
How bad is it? 
While the thought of having to walk five miles to the nearest station, or sit in the car on the side of the road waiting for roadside assistance is bad enough, running out of gas can do more than simply wear out your shoes or hurt your pride. It can also cause damage to your vehicle. When a car or truck runs out of gas, the fuel pump can go out as it relies on fuel for both cooling and lubrication. This might not happen the first time, but if running out of gas becomes a habit, it is likely. Also, depending on your car, you may have an issue with sediment in your fuel tank being drawn into the engine when you get too low, and that's not something you want. 
 
What do you do? 
If your vehicle starts to sputter (and trust me, you'll notice when it does), get over to the side of road as quickly and safely as possible. Call for help and/or get yourself to a safe area. If you need to leave your car, whether it's to wait for roadside assistance or to walk to a station to get a gallon of gas, tie something to your antenna to alert other motorists. The primary instruction is to stay safe. Trust your gut. If it doesn't seem like a safe place to walk, don't. Lock your doors and wait for help you can trust. 
 
How to avoid it? 
In simple terms, you are in charge here, and paying attention can save you plenty of hassle. After a particularly close call one day, I decided that getting a few dollars worth of gas that might be a little pricier was well worth it and bought me enough time to get to the station I wanted to get to.

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