Tips

How Driving on Empty Damages Your Car

Driving on fumes should be avoided at all costs if you can. We here at Mark’s Auto Service understand that money may be tight and you may have to push filling the gas tank to the next payday. Still, when you drive with little gasoline in the engine you risk damaging it. It’s better to make sure you always have at least one-quarter of a tank rather than operate your vehicle until the gas is so low your fuel light comes on. Here is how driving on empty damages your engine.

Overheats the Fuel Pump

Gasoline does more than fuel your automobile; it also works as a coolant for the fuel pump. The fuel pump’s primary job is to pull the gasoline from your vehicle’s tank and push it through to the engine. As the gasoline flows through the pump, it cools and lubricates the fuel pump’s motor. When you drive on empty, the fuel pump does not have enough gas to protect it and it overheats and wears down prematurely, resulting in the need for a new one much sooner than normal.

Pulls Tank Sludge Into Your Engine

Whether you fill up at the discount station or quench your vehicle’s thirst with the most expensive fuel in town, all gasoline has contaminants. This sediment settles at the bottom of your car, truck, SUV, or CUV’s gas tank, where it rests until you push your vehicle between fill-ups. The lower the fluid in the tank the more chance your fuel pump will draw the sludge that has settled at the bottom of the tank into your engine. This clogs the fuel filter, fuel injectors, and reduces your vehicle’s efficiency.

Introduces Too Much Air Into the Mix

Driving on empty also introduces too much air into your vehicle’s fuel/air mixture. This is called a “lean” mixture, and it can really damage your vehicle’s engine. Depending on how much air is in the mixture, you could damage the pistons because there isn’t enough fuel to prevent rubbing-related friction. Too much air in the engine can also break the crankshaft arm. Finally, the most common problem caused by a lean fuel mixture is sputtering and stalling.

Speaking of sputtering and stalling, driving on empty also damages you. You run the risk of breaking down on the road because you’ve run out of gas. This angers other drivers and overstresses you. If you have a habit of driving on empty, bring your vehicle into Mark’s Auto Service in Rockford or Loves Park, IL, for a fuel system check. Contact us today!

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