When it comes to your car, you should always have gas

By on May 10, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Posted in: Safety

I’ve run out of gas plenty of times. It’s no big deal. I just walk to the garage, grab the gas can, refill the tank on the mower and get back to work.

However, running out of gas in one’s car or truck presents more of a problem. Not only could it strand you many miles from civilization – inconveniencing you at least, and possibly putting you in danger – it’s also not good for your vehicle’s engine. Gas has cooling properties, and an engine that’s “running on fumes” is more likely to overheat. Running out of gas can damage your fuel pump as well.

With gas prices reaching unprecedented heights, people are running out of gas more frequently these days. I don’t recall ever doing so in my car, but more than once I’ve found myself rolling along with the gas gauge below “E,” anxiously hoping to find an open gas station around the next corner before my motor sucks the last few drops out of the tank. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, to say the least.

My most recent such experience was just this year, during a February snowstorm that paralyzed traffic in the Washington, D.C., area. OK, it doesn’t take much snow to do that, but this was a pretty serious storm by local standards. I’d started out with about a quarter-tank of gas, but after four hours behind the wheel, that was almost gone. I was only half a mile or so from a gas station, but traffic wasn’t moving at all. I wound up parking my nearly empty car on a side street and trudging through the snow to shelter – which, thankfully, wasn’t far away.

Since then, I’ve decided to do what the experts recommend, and not let my gas supply get below a quarter-tank. Or maybe half a tank if there’s snow in the forecast.

How about you? Any running-out-of-gas tales you’d like to share?

22 responses to “When it comes to your car, you should always have gas

  1. kris says:

    I have run out of gas going into the gas station. It was on a hill so I couldn’t quite make it. I had to run to the store to get a gas can and then to the pump and back to my car just so I could make it the few yards to fill my car up. Not what I call one of my smartest moments. (Especially when I went all the way across town passing numerous gas stations on the way just so I could go to this one particular gas station.) Lesson Learned.

  2. Roxanne says:

    I was w/3 other people (2 of which were in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy) on our way to meet our army reservists for a Christmas party.  The woman driving had the car a couple of months & relied on the computer to tell her how many more miles she can drive until she would run out of gas.  We were coming up on a gas station but she didn’t want to get gas there & asked the other 3 of us if we thought we could make it to the other gas station.  I said “NO” but the other 2 thought we could.  Well low & behold we ran out of gas on the highway miles from another gas station.  Her husband is a state trooper & she called the barracks & one of the troopers came to our rescue w/a can of gas.  Of course I didn’t let them live that down.  Hopefully they all learned their lesson but I doubt it.

  3. Tammy says:

    I have ran out of gas once in my entire time of driving which has been 27 years.  This one time I was only 2 or 3 blocks from the gas station but I did have my 3 yrs old daughter and my 1 yr old son with me–Walking with a gas can in one hand a 1 yr old on my hip and holding the 3 yr olds hand with the other hand taught me to never let this happen again!!

  4. Leez says:

    As a kid, I was horrible. I would always run out of gas, mostly because I never had any money. My father bought me a gas can to keep in my car, because of it.

    Once I bought my own car, I never run below 1/4 tank.

  5. Paul says:

    I ran out of gas one time. I was fortunate enough to be near a relatives house and he had some gas in his gas can and I was on my way to the gas station. It has not happened again.

  6. Shirley says:

    During the winter months do not let your car sit overnight with less than half a tank of gas. If you do, you are running the risk of having ice form inside the tank. If that happens, your car can just stop running without warning.  Trust me on this. I found out the hard way.  

  7. Philip says:

    I used to drive till it showed 0 in DTE and then fill up, much to the chagrin of my wife and kids. But then things happen, I was in my cousin’s car and he did the same thing and the car showed 0 miles DTE and luckily he pulled in a gas station before things got ugly and in my mind I said “IDIOT”.  The other incident is when my dad’s driver did the same thing and I kept on telling him to fill up every time I saw a gas station, and he drove 80 miles and with the needle below empty pulls into a gas station and they do not have regular gas, so  I am forced to fill premium and in my mind I said “IDIOT”. So I know what happens in my wife and kids brain when I do something similar.  

  8. Smart79 says:

    Thats nothin, my silly hubby swares that you still have 30 miles of gas left after you have hit the line. I have had several times where I was sweating driving to the gas station. I always fill it up evey chance I get. (Even if my hubby says were fine.)

  9. Chris says:

    I personally have never ran out of gas, though that’s not really bragging, because I’ve only been driving for about 10yrs. Anyhow .. I find not letting my gas get dangerously low gives me peace of mind, especially when I’m stuck in traffic or it’s dead hot outside and I don’t want to use up more gas by using my AC!

  10. Alicia says:

    I was about 17 the one and only time i have ever let myself run out of gas. I had to use my emergency water bottle and some nice samaritan gave me a ride the 7 blocks to the gas station and back so i could put the measly gallon in my car and chug my way to the gas station. needless to say that has not happened again in the last ten years :) Lesson Well Learned :)

  11. Kathy says:

    If your gauge is on 1/2, consider the tank EMPTY… it doesn’t matter if gas is $6/gal or $1/gal… a GALLON IS A GALLON

  12. Jason says:

    Running out of gas isn’t just bad for your fuel pump – it’s also a bad way to impress a girl on a first date. Trust me, I know!

  13. Amanda says:

    Imagine that!!! I found this article today… I ran out of gas on my way to work today… Pushed car out of road…walked to gas station…bought can and gas…walked back…put gas in…drove to station…filled up…late to work…in 2in heels…never again…

  14. Emily says:

    I am hoping I can make it to the gas station right now after work with out running out of gas…the gas station is about 500 yards across from GEICO….wish me luck!

  15. Derrick says:

    I know all to well about running out of gas. I use to own a high performance vehicle. I was very adapt on how much gas is needed to make sure it never ran out. When it fell to a quarter of a tank, it was time to gas up. My girlfriend at the time just didn’t get it. Everytime I loaned her the car and it was at the quarter mark she ran out of gas. I’ve always explain that because of the engine will consume more gas than estimated. Needless to say, I bought an extra gas can to avoid the extra headache.

  16. Neil O'Connor says:

    For years now I have always considered 1/4 tank to be “on empty” and I never let the gas gauge go below the quarter tank mark.  It saves me from having to explain to someone that I can’t manage my time and resources well enough to keep my vehicle adequately fueled.  Also, the likelihood is that I would run out of gas when it was MOSt inconvenient.  Staying above 1/4 tank is the same for me as clicking my seatbelt before I start the car. It’s just somethng I do out of habit.

  17. Heather says:

    I personally have never run out of gas but I remember a time when I was a kid my dad was waiting to turn into the gas station in a turning lane and the car ran out of gas. He walked to the gas station (can’t remember if he took my sister and I or not) and had to get a gas station attendant to help him push the car into the lot. I have a bad habit of waiting until my gas light comes on or right at a quarter of a tank of gas before filling up. Speaking of which, I need to get gas today.

  18. Shelley Walker says:

    I learned my lesson long ago, my daughter was in prescool and we were running late. We jumped in the car with me in my pajamas and robe. I never thought about the gas as it was only a mile away, unfortunatly that was the one time I ran out, leaving me with no choice but to wait for a tow truck to bring us gas. My daughter never let me forget that.
    That day I learned two very important lessons always know how much gas you have and never leave the house in pajama’s!

  19. toad says:

    I can always tell when my cars about to run out of gas, it stalls when I  make sharp right turns. My gas gauge doesn’t work properly so whenever I hear it stall I get gas. Ran out of gas once when I forgot my wallet and There was lot’s of right turns home lol

  20. PEGGY MUSGROVE says:

    MY TANK WENT EMPTY IN THE BANK DRIVE-THRU WITH MY 7MONTH OLD BABY IN THE BACK SEAT. I PUSHED MY CAR OUT OF THE DRIVE-THRU AND THEN LET IT ROLL BACKWARDS DOWN HILL TO WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A GAS STATION. IT HAD LONG LONG AGO STOPPED BEING A GAS STATION HOWEVER AND I CALLED A FRIEND FOR HELP. MY FRIEND POINTED OUT I WAS IN A SHADDY PART OF TOWN AND WE QUICKLY JUMPED IN HER CAR TO GO ACROSS THE STREET (LITERALLY) TO GET A GAS CAN AND 1GALLON. I COULD HAVE WALKED, BUT WITH A BABY IN TOW I’M SURE THE POLICE WOULD HAVE ARRESTED ME FOR CHILD ENDANGERMENT.  IT TOOK US FOREVER TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO WORK THE GAS CAN AND THEN I SPILT GAS ALL OVER MY HANDS. A BUNCH OF CARS PULLED UP AND WE REALLY DID NOT FEEL SAFE BEING THE ONLY TWO WOMEN AT THIS CRAP-SHOOT GAS STATION. WE QUICKLY FILLED MY TANK WITH THE 1GALLON AND GOT OUT OF THERE. I’M SURE ME AND MY FRIEND WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF GAS AGAIN.

  21. Gracie ROO says:

    Running gas just is not good! But sometimes things happen when you have to pray your way to the gas station # Hopeful wishing

  22. haley says:

    My grandma made a good point: if there is an unexpected natural disaster, or any disaster for that matter, you’re gonna want gasoline. And so will every other person in town. That either means waiting for hours in impossibly long lines or even not getting gas at all. I like to think of how relieved I will feel when that happens if I always keep my tank close to full.