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Old 12-12-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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Default When the low fuel light comes on, how much fuel is typically left in the tank?

Is there a standard, or does it vary by make and model?

I drive a Mazda 3i (2.0L) if it helps.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Duarte, CA
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When I see the low fuel light, I fill up right away.

On a 11.9 gallon tank, the least amount of gas needed to completely fill a tank w/ low fuel light was 9.3 gallons (2.6 gallons left.) The most was 10.5 (1.4 gallons left.)
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:50 AM
 
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Depends on the car.

My dad would drive his Grand Am for another 100 miles on the gas light.

In my Saturn ION, it meant "get to the gas station within 15 seconds." Well, you get the idea.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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It varies by car, even by cars of the exact same year, make and model. It all comes down to learning the individual car and even when the car "runs out" there is generally at least some fuel left in the tank still. By a general guideline, I would say you tend to have at least a gallon of usable gas left when the light comes on, so however far that will take you.

Also, try not to be totally reliant upon what the gauge and "miles remaining" indicators tell you as they can be off. A better method is to use one of the tripometers to see how many miles of actual driving you tend to get out of a tank. If you usually go say 350 miles on a tank, using that as a baseline is better than relying on the gauges.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:05 PM
 
Location: St. Ann, MO
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check your owners manual , or online for the size of your specific fuel tank. Drive till the light comes on, then fill up immediately. Should give you a pretty good idea of how many gallons of fuel you have left in there. Be aware of what the driving conditions and care state are. If you're driving up hill or down hill, or parked on a major angle, the fuel gauge can be drastically different. I'd make sure you were level when you the light comes on, and level when you fill up...
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:15 PM
 
Location: The cupboard under the sink
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With most cars, when the light comes on there's around 10l left.

It varies.
In theory that should be enough to get you 60 miles or so, but no way would I chance it, especially if it's a diesel.

It depends on where the fuel pick-up is.
Personally as soon as the tank drops below 1/4 I'm normally looking to fill up and would never be hoping to drive much more than 10 or 20 miles with the light on.

As others have said, when the fuel level is low you increase the chances of drawing crud into the lines.
You may also find that as the tank gets lower it'll begin to cut out on cornering, or on hills.

If it's a non--diesel and you want to know desperately, then carry a jerry can of fuel with you and just see how far you can get, top up when it runs out.
This, however, is not something I'd choose to do.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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I usually get about 275 miles on a tank before that light goes on. That seems kind of low to me, hence the reason for this thread. According to my calculations, I'm thinking I should get about 330-350 miles on an entire tank with my 2.0L Mazda 3i. That's why I was wondering if it was possible for me to get another 50 miles or so when the light comes on. I feel I was getting much better mileage on my Pontiac G6 GT (3.5L V6) engine and that seems odd to me.

Last edited by Z3N1TH 0N3; 12-12-2011 at 12:29 PM..
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:24 PM
 
Location: North Pole Alaska
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If you constantly run till the light comes on you will burn up your fuel pump. It uses the fuel in the tank to cool its self.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Duarte, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z3N1TH 0N3 View Post
I usually get about 275 miles on a tank before that light goes on. That seems kind of low to me, hence the reason for this thread. According to my calculations, I'm thinking I should get about 330-350 miles on an entire tank with my 2.0L Mazda 3i. That's why I was wondering if it was possible for me to get another 50 miles or so when the light comes on.
I wouldn't push it.. I hear it's not good for the fuel system to wait till the last minute to get gas. I usually target to fill my tank when I only have about 3 out of the 11.9 gallons left. Although there's no definitive proof about the potential damages, I've never hear anything good about waiting till the last minute to fill.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z3N1TH 0N3 View Post
I usually get about 275 miles on a tank before that light goes on. That seems kind of low to me, hence the reason for this thread. According to my calculations, I'm thinking I should get about 330-350 miles on an entire tank with my 2.0L Mazda 3i. That's why I was wondering if it was possible for me to get another 50 miles or so when the light comes on.
Are you calculating that based on the quoted total tank capacity? Remember, you can't generally use all of the fuel in the tank. For isntance, say you have a 13 gallon tank, only 12 of that may actually be usable without running into issues. I think for most people, a safe number would be about 40 miles of driving once the light kicks on, half that if you are in stop and go city traffic.
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