Will Running Out Of Gas Damage Your Car?


Will driving your car while low on fuel cause damage to your engine?
Can a low gas tank damage your fuel pump or catalytic converter?
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Can running low on fuel actually damage your car? Obviously you don't want to be stranded, and it's certainly not safe to have your car run out of gas while driving, but can you cause any harm to your car by driving without much gasoline in the tank?
We'll discuss what happens with your fuel pump, catalytic converters, and your engine as whole, and what happens with each of these components when you run out of fuel. You may be surprised to learn what effects driving on low fuel can have, and what your owner's manual may claim can happen with your vehicle. Check out the video for full details about driving while low on gas.
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  • Ruben Braekman
    Ruben Braekman3 dager siden

    I always run on only half a tank to save weight, thats 20 or 30kg saved just like that, gives me better fuel economy in the long run

  • Tony Davis
    Tony Davis5 dager siden

    I run my cars close to E all the time and have hundreds of thousands of miles on the pump and they're fine. The reason the pump suction is at the bottom is to allow access the capacity of your fuel tank in addition to prevent sucking up air.

  • Kaden Nealeigh
    Kaden Nealeigh11 dager siden

    Good thing my car doesn’t have catalytic converters

  • Charlie Smith
    Charlie Smith17 dager siden

    Running low on gas on the racetrack and having the car cut out for a second is scary. Affraid of lean condition

  • jesus Spartan
    jesus Spartan19 dager siden

    One time I ran my ancient truck almost empty and it started messing up. Turns out my distributor got loose and that's why it was running rough. Long story short don't do this lol

  • cooperparts
    cooperparts22 dager siden

    Fuel pumps are not cooled by gas in Phoenix temp 118 fuel temp better than 120 fuel pumps go bad because of bad design ranger had external fuel pumps in the 80s people never knew because the never went bad running tanks low will not pick up dirt someone tells you that go dump a hand full of dirt in the tank of the dick heads car and than tell them just don't run your tank low and you won't pick up any dirt DICK HEAD Enuff said

  • John Bower
    John Bower26 dager siden

    You shouldn't really let it go below a quarter tank; when mine goes below half I start thinking about a fill up.

  • WakaLlord
    WakaLlordMåned siden

    I had a car the fuel pump went on, it's not a fun repair folks just keep your tank full

    SILENT BOBMåned siden

    I only put $10 in at a time for weight reduction 🤣 it gives me a half a tank also 👍 I bad about driving with the gas light on tho😔

  • Glen1998
    Glen19982 måneder siden

    I knew a guy who destroyed his fuel pump because whenever he did run out of fuel which was rare but when he did he kept turning over the engine burning the hell out of the fuel pump 😱

  • CommanderTaco
    CommanderTaco2 måneder siden

    See, in my 02 accord I usually run an arab full tank. Usually about half full st the most lol

  • FARREL5825
    FARREL58252 måneder siden

    Fyi: E is not empty, but emergency. Google it if you do not believe me

  • ggzh a Argue With Everyone
    ggzh a Argue With Everyone2 måneder siden

    In my country it is illegal to run out of gas.

  • Cody Schleiger
    Cody Schleiger2 måneder siden

    Ill tell you what happens when you run out of fuel.....your journey is over! BAM! *dropped the mic* lol

  • One Germ
    One Germ3 måneder siden

    So it’s not like a cell phone where it’s good to let it die sometimes? XD

  • jeff jackson
    jeff jackson3 måneder siden

    He's speaking the truth. Of all the cars I've owned, I 've only had to replace a fuel pump once, and it was a car I would always run very low on fuel. The car only had a little over 50k miles on it. Ever since then, I always refill my tank once it is down to a quarter full or more, I never run it near empty like I used to.

  • bill spangler
    bill spangler3 måneder siden

    Lol, that's an 06-08 Pilot dash on the thumbnail. I only know because I'm used to seeing that light while getting 22mpg...

  • siera kh
    siera kh3 måneder siden

    Thanks, Does jerking or hesitation occur if the fuel supply is faulty?

  • jawad aburumman
    jawad aburumman4 måneder siden

    say catalytic converter one more time!

  • RigsWolf
    RigsWolf4 måneder siden

    I understand that he is an Ingineere , a good one. But I do believe he is missing objective logical points. As I tech I'm considering doing my own tube videos, to explain where these guy's think so over complicated they miss the real world results.

  • Mod X Wolf
    Mod X Wolf4 måneder siden

    **reads title** Me, a college student: “in terms of gas, we have no gas”

  • BBChevy
    BBChevy4 måneder siden

    My wife sent me this video this morning..... She then told me I was wrong..... This video does not apply to Chevy from the 90s to early 2000s.

  • Jordan Gomez
    Jordan Gomez4 måneder siden


  • Rushin' Truckin'
    Rushin' Truckin'5 måneder siden

    I cringed every time he said fuel when talking about a gas engine 😖 Now... do a video about running a diesel engine out of FUEL

  • akdomun
    akdomun5 måneder siden

    Does revving your car at idle cause any damage? Why do soft limiters exist?

  • gloriousholy
    gloriousholy5 måneder siden

    Answer: Not really - but it’s plausible in certain situations or if done repeatedly.

  • 1redrubberball
    1redrubberball5 måneder siden

    Thank you for the info presented in this video. A couple years ago, my son told me he had to drop his gas tank and replace the fuel pump. We're both DIY types and we theorized that the fuel pump should remain submerged in gas to stay as cool as possible. We both adopted 1/4 tank as the lowest point we should allow before refueling. Interesting that you've reenforced our conclusion. Thanks again!

  • roncruiser
    roncruiser5 måneder siden


  • Stephen Cannon
    Stephen Cannon5 måneder siden

    Good point about the pump over working and yes it will shut off due to lack of fuel but why risk it. I wonder how many drivers are watching this video while on the side of the Interstate about 5-10 miles PAST the.........”Last fuel for 300 miles sign. Obviously hoping the battery has enough life. Then again probably playing Angry Birds while waiting for Roadside Assistance instead of conserving the battery. The low fuel light is there for a reason. It’s called a “WARNING” light for a reason.....Technically speaking it is a caution but some lights are programmed to chime once in “Amber” and the second time in RED. Sorry if you ignore both of those warnings then your on your own! For those in the snow belt and other snow area locations one more thing to think of and not mentioned in the video. Keeping a decent amount of fuel can have two benefits. 1. Depending on the location of the fuel tank and fairly common location is in between the Fram rails or unibody forward of the rear axle. This location can help provide weight in the rear of the vehicle and weight can equal traction.....other factors of course, knowing how to drive in the snow, and safe driving habits. 2. You don’t want to run out because you COULD be stuck when a state closes the interstate if the weather gets bad enough and states “SHUTDOWN” Totally. It happens and can be common. Don’t believe me ask the people in upstate New York near Lake Erie. NY Thruway has been totally shut down several times and sometimes it may take a few days to clean up. First step is getting stranded motorists to safety, Second is removing traffic obstructions...( abandoned vehicles). Then work to clear the snow and treat roads. Sometimes all concurrently but it can happen. Even if you don’t actually get caught on the interstate shut down the road conditions and traffic could be high volume to clear at an exit. You want some fuel in the vehicle to run heaters, stay warm, charge phones, tablets, etc.... Simple summary....Not recommended the logic from EE is sound but don’t think that a Interstate shutdown can’t happen to you. About every winter there is another story about people that said it wouldn’t happen to them. I grew up in New England and temporary shutdowns of Interstate can be common. If not total shutdown then temporary isolated closures and speed restrictions.

  • Morgan Reilly
    Morgan Reilly5 måneder siden

    Pshhhh factory fuel pumps only last about 200k miles. About 50k short of the average vehicle life 💪

  • Gnrnrvids
    Gnrnrvids5 måneder siden

    Fill tank, drive till light comes on. Rinse and repeat.

  • C PG
    C PG5 måneder siden

    I ran a 03 350z on empty for 3 years

  • nilloc93
    nilloc935 måneder siden

    yes didn't need a 9 minute video on it

  • César Mansilla
    César Mansilla5 måneder siden

    You are wrong about this! This is a mith! In most cars there is a valve in the plastic case of the pump, that valve avoid the fuel going out and keeps the case full regardless the level of the tank. And please, gasoline DOES NOT lubricate. Excuse my English. Kind regards

  • Peter Zebot
    Peter Zebot5 måneder siden

    I have always run to where the car would have only 1 galllon left in the system. 45L fill ups mostly in a 50 L tank for 10 years. Never had issues with the fuel system. I mean never! But I wouldn't advise doing that.

  • Larry B
    Larry B6 måneder siden

    Is it a FACT or an OPINION that the fuel pump would run too hot if pumping air? While I see your reasoning about the fuel cooling it, I also see a very large reduction in heat generated when not pumping fuel....a pump spinning freely uses very little power.

  • Mark O
    Mark O6 måneder siden

    I often run close to empty just to avoid carrying the extra weight. I didn't realize the fuel pump risks. Guess I'll have to change tactics.

  • Mike Curry
    Mike Curry6 måneder siden

    Wasn't it a bigger issue on early fuel injected engines? For the life of me, I can't remember where I heard or read it, but I thought running the tank empty messed up the injectors on the first few engines that had them.

  • Martin Taper
    Martin Taper6 måneder siden

    Depends if your car runs on gas, as opposed to petrol or diesel. This is an example where the American language just falls over into confusion.

  • Dazlidorne Jenkins
    Dazlidorne Jenkins6 måneder siden

    6:37 I noticed you have what appears to be a K&N air filter or similar installed in your car. I've read some people say they allow too much dust, dirt, etc. to get past the filter or if you oil or recharge them incorrectly, the oil can damage sensors. What is your view on this?

  • WattsRacing
    WattsRacing6 måneder siden

    Interesting. Having a cylinder misfire and creating knock to the point where my engine actually blew up actually happened to me even on a full (or half full) tank. The lateral Gs I was pulling on track effectively created that "fuel slushing" you're describing, and even though I was nowhere near empty, the force was so strong it was constantly pushing my fuel all the way to the sidewalls of my fuel tank, effectively leaving the bottom empty of fuel and that starved my engine.

  • Salty
    Salty6 måneder siden

    I noticed my car had a 16gal tank size but from E to F was only 13gal. So I did the math and estimated an extra 60miles left before it's actually empty and often I ride to E which I probably shouldn't do anymore after watching this haha.

  • å
    å7 måneder siden

    Isn't there more problems with diesel engines?

  • Matthew Franco
    Matthew Franco7 måneder siden

    All 216 of you who dislike this video have issues with life , this man is a literally enlightening us with every video💯

  • Jay Dee
    Jay Dee7 måneder siden

    So the E on your gauge is not for Enough? Also the sock on the bottom of the pump is for larger type particles to be filtered. Anything that can go through this is ok for the pump then there is a finer filter somewhere in the line to the engine. Not in the pump housing like you mentioned. Love your show. Thanks. Do you actually get to breathe during your explanations?

  • chrismechanic B
    chrismechanic B7 måneder siden

    just fyi, there are types of fuel pumps that rely on surrounding fuel to keep them cool, the fuel does not pass through the pump to cool it, the jaguar XJ8 for example would start overheat after a quater of a tank on the guage, also the rotor of the motor was made from plastic and it would just melt.

  • Timothy Reeves
    Timothy Reeves7 måneder siden

    What’s that perpendicular dead-end pipe after the catalytic converter? Something to do with acoustics, sound reduction?

  • nkosi ndumo
    nkosi ndumo8 måneder siden

    there's shooting sound inside engine every time when i start the car every morning what cause that? and it can take about 15 minutes doing that

  • N. Jacobs
    N. Jacobs9 måneder siden

    A mechanic once told me to keep the tank at least half-full, because the pump is submerged in the fuel, and the fuel -- to some extent -- keeps the pump cool. Letting the car run low all the time may shorten the life of the fuel pump.

  • stephen feao
    stephen feao9 måneder siden

    I drove a 2002 Nissan Sentra all the way to Empty. I pull off the freeway to put gas in, I put the gas in but the car won’t start (only cranks but won’t start) after jumping the car the car starts but then almost immediately tuns off.

  • stephen feao
    stephen feao9 måneder siden

    I drove a 2002 Nissan Sentra all the way to Empty. I pull off the freeway to put gas in, I put the gas in but the car won’t start (only cranks but won’t start) after jumping the car the car starts but then almost immediately tuns off.

  • badcactus72
    badcactus729 måneder siden

    Seriously bummed out... not one single math formula in this video!

  • Mykul403
    Mykul40310 måneder siden

    I regularly run my vehicles to Empty, I’ve never had to replace a fuel pump. But do I ever run out, no. Filling my tank when it gets to 1/4 or 1/2 seems as ridiculous to me as stopping every 20 minutes to fill it up🤷‍♂️

  • Ashley Ice
    Ashley Ice10 måneder siden

    I’ve been driving on E for years, not once have I ever had any issues..l

  • Samus Aran7

    Samus Aran7

    9 måneder siden

    Of course... lol

  • rdizzy1
    rdizzy110 måneder siden

    What exactly do people consider to be "low on fuel"? When your low fuel light comes on? 1/8th of a tank? 1/4 tank? Under half a tank? I personally have never let the actual low fuel light come on in the entire life of my 2011 car, not once, but I frequently let it get pretty close to that point, probably 1/8th of a tank, definitely frequently under 1/4.

  • Goattacular
    Goattacular10 måneder siden

    I drive for Uber, so to maximize fuel efficiency (which maximizes my profits), I typically only fill the tank half way as a means to reduce weight, and I notice about a 2-3 mpg average increase doing this, and an additional 1 to 2 mpg improvement if I routinely check and maintain tire pressure. I do my best to refuel as soon as the low fuel indicator turns on, mostly because I drive in a hilly and somewhat mountainous area, and want to avoid engine sputters (if that's even a thing with modern vehicles). The lowest I ever let it got was probably 1 gallon left in the tank, as the indicator comes on at about 2 to 2.5 gallons. Hopefully I'm not causing damage that will suddenly bite me in the ass. I put nearly 9,000 miles on my car last year just doing Uber driving, and that of course takes a toll on any vehicle.

  • Aaron Ennis
    Aaron Ennis10 måneder siden

    Year one I filled my car at half a tank. Then, I took a 1 gallon fuel container, and learned the limits of my car, letting it run out completely. Now I go under zero just about every fill up, to decrease the number of times I have to go to the gas station.

  • Raven4K
    Raven4K10 måneder siden

    answer as an I3s owner nope it does not damage it cause bmw limits fuel consumption so you cannot do that with the i3

  • Jaimie Conroy
    Jaimie Conroy10 måneder siden

    It is a good idea to refuel your tank when it goes down to a half tank, because you never know when an emergency situation will leave us without power and gas stations will shut down.

  • H Phillips
    H Phillips10 måneder siden

    Can you do a similar video on diesel?Thanks

  • James Leonard Panes
    James Leonard Panes11 måneder siden

    When my former spouse ran the minivan out of gas, she pooched the fuel pump and injectors. Even with replacement parts it never ran the same again. Of coursethis was the GM 3400 and that wasn't the only problem we had with it.

  • hba260
    hba26011 måneder siden

    1997 Mustang 3.8 run out of fuel feel times and always driven to the last fill drops do to my procrastination . Sold the car with 185,000 miles with the original fuel pump 🧐

  • richieb74
    richieb7411 måneder siden

    I like how informative you are. But your voice bothers me a little lol.

    ROCKYHOOKS3311 måneder siden

    This video it @ me, I don’t fill up till it’s right above the red line

  • Storm Shadow
    Storm Shadow11 måneder siden

    Ermagherd I clicked then realized that you're automotive blues clues lmfao

  • Holger Behrens
    Holger Behrens11 måneder siden

    Overheating pump? Utter rubbish! This is fiction. From personal experience I can assure you, that on my car, running out of gas has no adverse effect. I run out of gas once or twice a week. My Nissan truck is quirky... If low on gas and you stop on downhill the gas engine starves of fuel and cuts out. Happens all the time, that is how I know that it is time to fill up.

  • free agent
    free agent11 måneder siden

    I keep my car in the garage so I never run out of fuel.

  • Oto
    Oto11 måneder siden

    Life hack:If fuel starts to run out and engine starts to cut out just steer quickly left-right so fuel slushes in tank and you will get some more couple of miles. Of course there is slight risk of fuel pump damage.

  • NothingXemnas
    NothingXemnas11 måneder siden

    One thing that was overlooked, though rare, is sudden fuel shortage. Last year we had a state wide truck drivers riot that stopped fueling of all gas stations overnight. Coincidentally, my car was on reserve and wouldn't make it through the next two days (the protests lasted over a week). For that time, the car was completely empty. Since then, I also run on at least 1/3 in fear of some day, fuel simply disappearing.

    WHY ASK ME11 måneder siden


  • Robert
    Robert11 måneder siden

    The answer is Yes, especially if you have Diesel....

  • Hide and Tweak
    Hide and Tweak11 måneder siden

    The thing I really wanna know about gas tank is why the first quarter seems to last so much longer than the 3 other quarters left ? Why the needle is so non-linear ?

  • Redtooth 75

    Redtooth 75

    11 måneder siden

    They should be linear. However, the fuel pump gauge is a resistance based sensor. As the car gets older corrosion can make the gauge inaccurate

  • Hide and Tweak
    Hide and Tweak11 måneder siden

    but what is considered low fuel in the first place ? When my low fuel light turns on I still about 1 or 2 gallons which is a ton of miles... so I guess it's not that low at this time...

  • Mark Codiroli

    Mark Codiroli

    10 måneder siden

    1/8 ofa tank is consider low no matter the size of tank or fuel economy

  • 0LAF2046
    0LAF204611 måneder siden

    Most Importantly: Because the plastic fuel pump sits in liquid gasoline the pump is meant to be insulated by the gasoline itself which has a low freezing point/high boiling point and maintains a stable temperature range regardless of exterior temperature swings.

  • Chi Tung
    Chi Tung11 måneder siden

    How about the thinking more dirt will be sucked up from the bottom of the tank (because of less dilution from the liquidity of the fuel)? Or basically if true the fuel filter will get clogged up faster.

  • Serama World
    Serama World11 måneder siden

    Was told that fuel injectors could get clogged if you run low, or out, of gas.

  • Homebrew Instrumentals
    Homebrew Instrumentals11 måneder siden

    I definitely noticed very minor performance and mpg gains in my first 2 cars which were 1 litre and 1.2 litre running with less fuel in the tank due to weight. Last car was a 1.8 astra bertone and current car is an audi tt 225. By habit ive always ran with a maximum of half a tank since my first two cars. Yet to even test if there is still a difference in the higher powered cars i drive today...

  • Brian
    Brian11 måneder siden

    Nice video. I'll take heed and not run my tank to near empty every time.

  • Amaroq Starwind
    Amaroq StarwindÅr siden

    Now I want a separate cooling system for my fuel pump.

  • Arsyad Idris
    Arsyad IdrisÅr siden

    4:10 yeahh learned that the hard way. Very scroogy during college years. Only filled ~$3 equivalent when its on empty, always having to fill ~$3 when its empty. So im gessing the fuel pump never get to properly “bathe” in the cooling fuel. Busted my fuel pump after just 1 year of usage. It was a handmedown car from my old man n he had it for 5 years. After changing the fuel pump, always kept the fuelgauge above the quarter line. Its been 10 years since the last time i changed the fuel pump of that car and my little brother drive it around now. So yeah, always keep the fuel decently above empty to prevent overheating. Especially for older cars who dont have electronic cutoffs.

  • AmieSports
    AmieSportsÅr siden

    I'm always filling up to 25litres(6.6gallons) of high octane (98%) fuel so I'm sure to rip at any given moment. So I'm driving with the 'tank' symbol lighted up 30% of the time. Also, when I'm closing in on some big intersection red light, I turn off the car key beforehand, roll on for 55yds and just brake. Is this bad for the brake system and/or the power steering (since I use force to turn the wheel to get in a decent position) Thank you for your teachings!!

  • John Teichroeb
    John TeichroebÅr siden

    And engine oil

  • Harlee Tuttle
    Harlee TuttleÅr siden

    You forgot one. 1.Air 2.Fuel 3.spark 4.Compression 5.TIMING!!

  • MadScientist512
    MadScientist512År siden

    The main issue I've heard of, which sadly wasn't addressed at all, is the layer of water from atmospheric condensation sitting atop the fuel getting into the fuel pumps' intake when the fuel level is bottoming out, and thereby getting a fuel/water mix into the engine and fuel systems. Seems to me like a valid, or even the the main concern, or is it just an 'old wives tale'? I'm sure many others have heard of this and would appreciate it being discussed in a follow-up up video.

  • Thouny
    ThounyÅr siden

    Another reason not to drive while low on fuel is that you might realize once you're at the pump that you forgot your wallet…

  • rtel123
    rtel123År siden

    I was warned that the fuel not only cools the pump as it passes thru, but also cools the housing of the pump, so that low fuel levels reduce the outer surface cooling of the pump. Any truth to that?

  • John Reese
    John ReeseÅr siden

    On some Corvettes, running low on fuel can cause some build up on the level sensor causing false level readings.

  • Jack Hartzell
    Jack HartzellÅr siden

    2.2 ecotec does not like going dry lmao the purge valve gets stuck and the charcoal canister dries up and cracks

  • NinjaOnANinja
    NinjaOnANinjaÅr siden

    Stop. With. The. Uppers. F. F. S.

  • -]Na[-NoMaD
    -]Na[-NoMaDÅr siden

    for diesels, always keep a 5 liter tank in the trunk, don't do it with gasoline though, as it consist a higher fire hazard.

  • MrLockwire
    MrLockwireÅr siden

    That was about fuel but what about diesel and the accumulated water on the bottom of your tank which you going to suck in now ?

  • KoiRun
    KoiRunÅr siden

    Does this apply to my lawn mower and snow blower? They run out of fuel All the time.

  • PotatoPlayer Made in China.
    PotatoPlayer Made in China.År siden

    is overfill your car tank once gonna break stuff?

  • Arabian Cars
    Arabian CarsÅr siden

    Where can i get a Honda S2000 ?

  • battu tulu
    battu tuluÅr siden

    Very informative. One question pls. Some drivers say that it is bad to drive around with half filled tank during winter(-20-30C) because of condensation and all that. Is there any suggestion on that. Thx

  • Spencer PhilippineDream
    Spencer PhilippineDreamÅr siden

    some of you fill up at 1/4 a tank for whatever reason. i fill mine up at negative 1/16 because i dont particularly like the ritual of fueling very much. my mentality is that if i always fill it (dont just put $10 in) and if i wait until its empty, i will minimize how many times im at the gas station in my life. im telling you this because every car i have owned (that has a fuel light) has allowed me to drive at least 60 miles farther. i have never run out of gas except for my truck that didnt have a fuel light, and it was on purpose just to know for sure (i had a full gas can with me). the truck also runs out at about one fuel gauge needle thickness below the empty mark.

  • Njohnson694
    Njohnson694År siden

    Love that S2000 but dang the fenders are 2 different colors..

  • 0MindSwept0
    0MindSwept0År siden

    So one way or the other, don't run your car hard to prevent damage...has several other benefits as well, but yeah ;p

  • 0MindSwept0
    0MindSwept0År siden

    "And it needs oxygen, of course the air around us will do" ya, because it's not exactly the purest source of oxygen 😂😂😂😂

  • Jose Vargas
    Jose VargasÅr siden

    Hi, this is a very interesting topic for me as I always have my tank running from E to 1/3rd and back to E, because the company does not give us a tone of money for fuel. But my car also have a reserve portion of the tank so at E we have still arround 2,5 galons, that we never use. So I ask you if you think that in this scenario I'm risking to damage the fuel pump.