Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - tom_79
Whilst out and about tonight, the rather over-dramatic bleep and bright orange light on the dash of my 2003 Polo 1.2 (12 valve, 64 bhp) brought the need to refill with petrol to mind.

The gauge shows approx. 1/8 of a tank remains, which by my calculations this should mean at least 40-50 miles left. Obviously it would be better to fill up ASAP, but I wondered in an emergency, how much further would I have left?

I wondered if anyone out there has a posher 1.2 Polo than mine fitted with the trip computer, and if so what is usually left showing as the range at the point of the dreaded bleep?

Thanks, Tom.

Edited by tom_79 on 13/08/2008 at 00:57

Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - frazerjp
I think it's about 30 miles until you conk out & ruin your fuel pump.
End of day it depends on different makes of car.
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - Armitage Shanks {p}
Runing out of fuel doesn't wreck the fuel pump, although if it is a diesel, the fuel system may be hard to 'prime' to get a re-start. Usually the handbook gives a figure for how much fuel remains when he light comes on; up to 5 litres is about normal. As FJP says, it varies from car to car.
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - b308
Have you read your handbook recently? It tells you in that how much fuel you have left... how far it will get you depends on your driving style and the fuel... mine is nearer 75/80 miles when it comes on....
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - Statistical outlier
Depends on the particular car. We used to have two identical spec Saxo 1.1i's in the house. Mine had a reliable 7 litres left when the light came on. My Mum's light came on and the car rolled to a halt less than a mile later. All depends on the calibration, which may or may not be consistent between vehicles.
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - mike hannon
In the great days of motoring journalism a standard part of the road test procedure for a new car, as carried out by the legendary Bill Boddy of Motor Sport, was to fill the tank and drive until it was completely dry - getting to a pump after that thanks to a can of petrol in the boot - thus establishing exactly how far you could go on a tankful and what was left when the gauge showed empty.
I guess if you tried that nowadays you would write off half the cars under examination (a lot of the oil-burners anyway).
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - Stuartli
You don't say the capacity of your fuel tank, which would help.

My Bora has a 12 gallon tank and, when the computer flashes up the nearly empty sign, there's about two gallons of petrol left.

Incidentally I used to have a 1.6 petrol Jetta and the fuel gauge had a red line, warning when the need arose to fill up. On one occasion I was in Redditch and the gauge needle was close to the red mark.

We visited Cadbury's World and, on the way home, met heavy traffic in Birmingham and the motorways but, because of the much higher price of fuel in the area at the time decided to carry on a bit further.

Eventually I never did fill up and we made it all the way home to the North West coast with the gauge needle half way between empty and the red mark - the distance we travelled represented a three-figure mileage...:-)
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - Armitage Shanks {p}
In what way will runing the tank dry, in a petrol or a diesel "write off the car"? I know when a diesel has run out of fuel it isn't a simple of matter of adding fuel, the system has to be primed, but there is nothing in the handbook of my diesel car warning of possible damage caused by running out of fuel.

Edited by Armitage Shanks {p} on 13/08/2008 at 11:26

Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - tom_79
Thanks for all the replies so far.

The capacity is 45 litres, so just under ten gallons (from which I produced the estimation of 40-50 miles left). I just wondered what sort of range people still had showing on their trip computers at the point of the low fuel bleep.

Thanks again, Tom.
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - jase1
On the cars I've had it's always been between 30 and 80 miles.

Some cars also flicker the fuel light on and off for a while before it comes on permanently -- this can add another 20 miles or so in some cases.

You know when you're about to stop when there is a curious groaning noise coming from the fuel pump area at idle.
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - ifithelps
My Triumph Herald had a reserve tank.

This was just as well because the fuel gauge was an unexpected casualty of my decision to swap the car to negative earth so I could fit a modern radio.
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - mike hannon
Apart from dragging a bit of gunk through the system I don't think a petrol engine would come to any harm. But when you read the ever-increasing list of horror stories on here regarding hyper-sensitive fuelling systems on (now very numerous) common rail diesels, and the perils of running very high pressure systems even briefly without lubrication you can't help but wonder.
Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - Pat L
On both my VAG cars (A4 and Passat) the 'computer' shows the remaining range as being 60 miles when the warning light comes on.

Fuel light on, how much further until empty? - skorpio
My Pug 406 110 HDi light came on recently with the computer telling me I had 74 miles to fill up. I was driving at approx 60mph. It all depends on the speed/driving style. I never rely on the computer anyway as I suspect they are not accurate to any degree.
Fuel light on, don't risk it too far £60.00.... - oldnotbold
My daughter ran the 1.2 Corsa out of fuel. Filled it up, but some carp had been dragged through the system and into the single-point injector, we suspect. It wouldn't idle or start when hot, and was hesitant almost all the time.

1.5 hours of time from my mechanic and it's fine, but I'd rather have given her the £60 in fuel, than fiddled around rescuing her and sorting out the the problem.

My suggestion is that you spend £10.00 on a can and some fuel, and use the can if you have to go more than 15 miles once the light comes on.
Fuel light on, don't risk it too far £60.00.... - Mapmaker
>>My suggestion is that you spend £10.00 on a can and some fuel,

Utterly bonkers suggestion. Why not fill up when it reaches a quarter of a tank, like all sensible people do?

A can of petrol rolling around the inside of the car in a crash... no thank you.
Fuel light on, don't risk it too far £60.00.... - Stuartli
I've had a a petrol can, but have never used it in the many years I've owned it. However it's built to survive most incidents...:-)
 

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