Should I Keep My Gas Tank 1/4 Full?
Those of us who let our gas tank hit the empty mark have probably had a fearful passenger tell us that you shouldn’t let your gas tank go below a 1/4 of a tank. Besides the higher risk of running out of gas, some people believe it can damage your car. This was probably a bigger concern in older vehicles, but here are the basic facts of what can happen and you can decide for yourself if you should change your habits. Whatever you decide, it’s rarely bad to error on the side of caution.
Vehicles made before the 1990’s were built with metal gas tanks that would rust over time and cause sediment to settle on the bottom of the tank. Most new cars have high density plastic fuel tanks, which don’t rust, but you could still get some sediment, especially if you get bad gas. If your gas tank contains only a small amount of gas for the fuel line to ingest, it is more likely to ingest any sediment that has settled there. Too much of this sediment can ruin your fuel filter and if you are really unlucky, damage your entire fuel system before it moves on to damage your engine. This could cost you anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars. This is especially important for diesel engines.
Another reason some people say you shouldn’t let your gas go below a quarter of a tank is because it can damage your fuel pump. Many cars have a fuel pump in the gas tank that is partly kept cool and lubricated from the gasoline. Continually running your gas tank on empty, may cause your fuel pump to get too hot and stop working. Replacing your fuel pump could cost you anywhere from $300 – $800, not something you want to spend your money on if it can be prevented.
Having one of these things happen to your car is probably very unlikely, but it is possible, so keep that in mind the next time you procrastinate going to the gas station.