Why You Should Keep Your Gas Tank Full
When you were a teenager and just learning how to drive, more than likely your dad or grandfather gave you a lecture on keeping your gas tank full. It turns out that they were right, but did they tell you what could happen to your vehicle if you failed to do so? Let’s talk about why you should keep your gas tank full.
Why You Should Keep Your Gas Tank Full
Many years have probably flown by since then, so ask yourself how well you are following their advice today? Chances are, you may have neglected their lecture time and need a reminder of why it’s so important to avoid driving while your vehicle is near empty.
There are actually several reasons why you shouldn’t allow your car to always be running on fumes. Here’s more on why you should keep your gas tank full.
Empty Space Is Hard on Your Fuel Tank
If I were to ask you to go out and start your car, would your gas tank be more than half full, or are you notorious for allowing the orange needle to always be resting on the letter E? You may not think too much of it, but driving with a near-empty gas tank may be causing more damage and harm to your vehicle than you may know.
You may think that empty space in a gas tank is just empty space, but it’s not. That empty space is filled with air, which contains water vapor, and can become condensation on the walls of your fuel tank. Condensation is bad news on gas tanks for a number of reasons.
It can cause rust and corrosion to form on vehicles that have metal fuel tanks, as well as allowing water to mix with the gasoline, which can keep your vehicle from running properly. In case you missed this post How To Make Your Own Emergency Car Kit
An Empty Tank Causes Costly Mechanical Issues
If you’re a habitual offender of constantly driving with your gas tank empty, you’re creating a number of other mechanical issues besides just with your gas tank. When there’s not enough gas in your vehicle, your fuel pump is likely sucking in air, allowing it to overheat and causing wear to the pump. This can be very costly for parts and labor if it were to go out. 5-Gallon Gas Tank
Your vehicle’s fuel filter is another component that may become clogged and not work properly when there’s not enough fuel. That’s because there are sentiment and gunk at the bottom of your gas tank, and it’s more likely to find its way into your fuel injector because the filter can’t handle it all.
This is more common in older vehicles that have metal tanks instead of the plastic tanks that are more common today.
Besides all of these issues, running out of gas can cause havoc to your engine in a number of ways as well. Having to replace an engine is far more costly than keeping a few extra bucks of gas in the tank. Just keeping your gas tank near full will help you save a bunch of money on costly repairs later on down the road.
This is Especially Important During the Winter
During the winter months, it’s crucial to keep your gas tank at least half full when the temperatures are dipping around or below freezing. This is especially true for older vehicles that may not have sealed fuel injection systems, and the cold can cause the fuel lines to freeze.
This may prevent your vehicle from starting, or possibly causing it to stall. Even if you own a newer vehicle, it’s a good idea to keep your gas tank at least half full, just in case.
Better Gas Mileage
You may have always been under the impression that the less fuel that you have in your gas tank means less weight, thus better gas mileage, but that’s not necessarily the case. Your vehicle’s fuel efficiency may be even worse because of the air that’s caught in your fuel tank, which can evaporate your fuel at a quicker rate. The weight of the gas in your fuel tank will have very little to do with your vehicle’s fuel economy.
A Full Tank Keeps You On Time
Have you ever been left stranded in the middle of nowhere because you ran out of gas? Or do you sometimes find yourself in a frenzy in the morning while you’re trying to make it to work on time, only to discover you have no choice other than stopping at the gas pump for a quick $5 worth of gas? (I’d be lying if I said this has never been me.) These scenarios can cause you to be late and both could easily be avoided.
Instead of always waiting to fill your gas tank when it’s crunch time, make it a habit of filling up on the gas the night before when you’re heading home from work. Even if you’re still at around half full, if you notice a cheap price, make a pitstop. Not only does this keep the boss happy, but your car and pocketbook will appreciate it too.
Do It For Your Safety
Another obvious reason to keep your gas tank full is to maintain safety while you’re out on the road. If you’re driving on the highway at a higher speed and your car shuts off, so will your power steering along with your power brakes, and that could be very dangerous, or even deadly. There is also the issue of pulling to the side of the road, possibly in heavy traffic, having to hike to the local gas station, and dodging other drivers while you walk on the roadside.
There’s also the unfortunate possibility of being stranded in very hot or cold conditions without heat or air conditioning, which could also be dangerous. For your own safety, don’t allow the needle to flirt with the letter E.
Instead of allowing any extra and unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle, or the possibility of getting stranded along the highway, make the better decision to always keep your fuel tank filled with plenty of gas. It’s best not to allow your gas gauge to go below the 1/4 mark, and no less than the 1/2 mark during the winter. You’ll be doing both your wallet and your vehicle a favor.
We have all learned a lot during our lives about being prepared in a lot of different situations, so being prepared is a way of life for us. We must keep prepping, we can get through anything because we are survivors. May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Gas Tank Deposit photos_31571229_s-2019, Car on a snowy road Deposit photos_213102462_s-2019, Car Breakdown Depositphotos_68993207_s-2019, Man walking with gas can Depositphotos_68998443_s-2019
16 thoughts on “Why You Should Keep Your Gas Tank Full”
I can’t tell you how many times I preach this. During the virus, winter storms and during tornado season 3/4 is empty. During other times 1/2 is empty. Yes 3/4s means I have to fill up every other day or more but so be it. It’s my belief and lifestyle and it doesn’t hurt me in fact it makes me stronger.
I used 1/2 tank during an F5 tornado once going 38 miles round trip. Things happen and the day the wildfire approaches at 45 mph isn’t the time to realize you didn’t fill up.
Store extra with PRI-G. I’ve tested it to 5 yrs stored.
Hi Matt, great tip on the PRI-G, I love your recommendations. I’m with you on the gas tank being our lifestyle to keep it full. We know how to be prepared. Linda
Good advice, Linda. I sometimes allow my vehicles to get down to 1/4 tank but mostly they are above 1/2–and I have several gas cans full of stabilized fuel if needs be.
Hi Ray, it’s a great idea to have several gas cans stored that are stabilized. I love it! Linda
Wonderful that you posted this. I am a believer in a full tank at all times. I live in a forest on a long dirt road. The very second I know there is a fire I am gone. I keep my Tahoe full of what I need to survive anywhere. If I see the dial go down a little I check my trip miles and never let them get over 50 miles . I tend to fill up just because I pass the gas station. I like it because each time I fill up it doesn’t take much money. I would like to say that as a beginning driver, so many years ago LOL, I liked filling the tank more after the gas tripped off when full. After two vehicles I learned that doing that messed up the sensor and it quit telling me how much gas I had in the tank. A mechanic told me to never do that and stop when the gas clicks off and it won’t happen again. It hasn’t.
HI Diane, great tip on the sensor! Thank you!! Now if I could convince my husband, I would be so happy. Linda
Oh, yes, Linda, the “other half!” When he was driving on his own, how many times did I find myself (maybe the next morning) driving on fumes to get to the nearest station! >:-(
Hi Rhonda, oh my gosh, now I have the giggles! Linda
Yes, the old “keep the tank at least half full rule”. I believe in it, unfortunately for me, I often have to ration my gas and use it wisely, so it’s not possible to keep it nearly full all the time, but I usually just drive around my area, no more than 3-5 miles from home and there are plenty of gas stations around.
When I fill the car, mine is small, it runs great and the weight actually makes the ride feel better. I am also supposed to run the 89 octane, but can compromise and use the 87 which is cheaper as long as I alternate. It really does run best on the 89, so I try to use that as it keeps everything running better.
I also take advantage of Wawa’s free air to keep my tires filled to the right pressure and use those sturdy gas station paper towels to clean up my windows and wipers. Good visibility is a safety issue as well as proper tire pressure, plus the tires last longer and the vehicle tracts more accurately and the ride is smoother when proper PSI is maintained. If I had to evacuate, I hopefully will have tires ready, functional wipers and clean glass plus proper fluid levels, clean filters and everything in working order.
Hi Frank, great comment as always. You are so right about the tire pressure. AND the gas octane number. I also use paper towels to keep my windows clean when I fill up my car with gas. Sounds like I need another post on car safety. We need to be ready to evacuate at any time. I’m sure those who live in hurricane and tornado area are used to be ready. We have fires and flooding where I live.Linda
This is a great reminder article for me, as I have gone from driving a Saturn Vue (with a clutch) that gets Really great mpg (avg 35-38) to a big Chevy Avalanche. Hehe, a gas guzzler, tho not as bad as I thought it’d be. The Vue could run over 50 miles when it showed empty. I have not a clue how far I’d get with the avalanche after empty reminder. I liked the suggestion a couple readers made that it doesn’t seem so bad to fill if one doesn’t let the tank drop down very much. I’m needing a repair on my Saturn plus 2 tires and put off these expenses during my off-work time but whew I miss her small gas tank…the most I was ever able to put in was 10.5 gals and she was a-flashing the empty signal, lol. A question for others: I used to keep a tiny full gas can in my Saturn, and know I need a much bigger one for the truck: how big and where’s the cheapest place to buy one?
Hi Wendy, wow 35-38 miles to gallon rocks!! We have one car Honda CRV and I think it gets 26-29 miles an hour. I want a little bit bigger car next time, but I work from home so gas mileage isn’t as much an issue. We just had to put some money into our 12-year-old car but it just keeps ongoing. Let’s see what other readers suggest in the way of gas tanks for your Chevy Avalanche. Linda
My BMW uses premium 92 octane. My Jeep runs 89 regular. I keep them both full all the time. It amazes me when I loan my vehicle and tell the chump borrowing it you take it full return it full next thing you know the damn thing is empty – and then they dont pay to get it refilled.
You may have your personal preference but I always use Chevron, Shell is apparently pretty good but I like the smell of Chevron better.
You save no money running the tank empty, that is unless you have no intention of replacing the gas you use. Idiots. I keep my tanks full all the time for a reason, most stated in this article. I stop at almost every Chevron I see if I am below F for a quick top up. Get points too.
Only gas worth wasting is summer gas over the winter and winter gas during the summer. Otherwise just keep the damn thing full. Garg
Hi Kris, oh my gosh, I’m so glad you talked about Chevron gas. That’s the only gas I will fill my car with as well. I see these people lined up at Costco to save money on gas, I don’t get it. A mechanic I take my car to said don’t use Costco gas. I guess I’m a gas snob. But I never have trouble with my car using Chevron gas. The line at Costco is sometimes a 20-minute wait. I can’t imagine borrowing a truck without filling it up. I can’t remember the last time if ever I have borrowed anything, let alone a car or truck. If they brought it back empty, not good. Linda
Haha. Yeah Chevron gas smells so good its like a drug. I use synthetic oil Chevron gas and I get no pings, no knocks, no water vapour out the tailpipe. Dont know much about Costco gas (they dont sell it in Canada) but other than your response I havent heard much of it.
Hi Kris, now I have the giggles! I need to be more aware of the smell at the Chevron station!! Linda