What if car runs out of fuel? - movilogo
Will it start running again if some fuel is poured in its tank? Or running dry will cause serious damage to engine?

Is the situation different in petrol or Diesel cars?

I'm asking because recently on occasions I found that car ran out of fuel slightly away from petrol station and blokes are filling from a jerry can. Didn't wait for the outcome though.
What if car runs out of fuel? - DP
It won't do the high pressure pump any good on a diesel, but other than that I'm not aware it does any damage. Unless it's a Peugeot 406 HDi, where the dealer told me (but wouldn't put it in writing) that the car needs a new ECU whenever it runs out of fuel, but they did me a huge favour by getting around it this time. ;-) Bullplop of course.

As for starting, it takes a bit of cranking after running dry as the fuel has to be pumped from the tank through to the injectors. On a diesel, the system may have to be bled of air (some are self bleeding, some aren't).

According to the manual, my old Focus TDDI couldn't be run dry. The engine would apparently stop before the fuel delivery completely dried up, meaning no restarting / bleeding issues. Never tested it though.
What if car runs out of fuel? - Ian (Cape Town)
The other problem is the dregs of fuel sloshing around in a near-empty tank tends to pick up all the crud, scurve and dandruff which accumulates there, making blocked filters a distinct possibility.
What if car runs out of fuel? - MikeTorque
Your right about the Ford DP. Ford and a number of other cars are designed to simply cut off the fueling to prevent the fuel tank running dry. Once the fuel tank gets down to around about 2 to 3 litres it's programmed to cut the fuel supply to prevent problems of air getting into the system. Usually the car manual says something along the lines that a diesel tank capacity is 53 litres for a diesel and 55 for petrol and yet both fuel tanks are the same size.
What if car runs out of fuel? - bintang
I seem to recall a warning that, for petrol engines, "the resulting misfire can danage your catalyst" but I don't suppose you would notice till the next MOT. As regards foreign matter, I was horrified - just before a hazardous passge down the Bristol Channel, that the bottom 15% contents of my diesel narrowboat tank were water, which I had to syphon out. I don't know if vehicle diesels suffer from condensation too.
What if car runs out of fuel? - davmal
Surely just normal use, speed humps, rough roads, tight corners etc would stir all of that up anyway.
What if car runs out of fuel? - jc2
A misfire can damage a catalyst but running out of fuel won't as the injectors would all cut out at the same time.
What if car runs out of fuel? - Cliff Pope
Diesel fuel systems need priming to get all the air out?

The dirt in the petrol tank theory is an urban myth. If there is any dirt in the tank it will have been picked up anyway. In any case, that's what a fuel filter is for.
What if car runs out of fuel? - Whisky
Unless it's a Peugeot 406 HDi where
the dealer told me (but wouldn't put it in writing) that the car needs a
new ECU whenever it runs out of fuel but they did me a huge favour
by getting around it this time. ;-) Bullplop of course.


Interesting... mine has ran dry twice and completely refused to start, the cure was to disconnect the battery for 10 minutes.
What if car runs out of fuel? - DP
Interesting... mine has ran dry twice and completely refused to start the cure was to
disconnect the battery for 10 minutes.


Which is what I suspect they did.

The exact story was that I ran out of fuel (with 40 miles left on the range indicator). Walked about 300yds to the petrol station I was going to stop at anyway, and bought a can of diesel. Put it in the tank, and went to start the car. It went into ECO MODE and then threw a complete hissy fit and shut down completely.

Recovered to Pug garage who rang my fleet manager and said "It needs a new ECU and because it's run out of fuel, the warranty won't cover it. The cost will be £1800." Fleet manager - who was mechanically ignorant - goes nuts (at me) and starts talking about taking it from my salary etc. I go down to the garage and ask them to put in writing that these cars need an ECU replacement if they run out of fuel because I intend to escalate this to various people including Peugeot UK, Trading Standards and VOSA. Told to wait a few minutes while they fetch the workshop foreman. Workshop foreman comes out and says "we've got around it this time, but it will need the ECU replacing if it happens again!". And no, they won't put it in writing, because "we don't do that."

Draw whatever conclusion from that you will. To me it smacks of thwarting an attempted rip-off. The very idea that such an expensive part could be wrecked by running out of fuel is ridiculous enough, but to then suggest they can "get around it" - either it breaks or it doesn't.

 

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