This is probably a motorist’s worst nightmare on the road. Picture this: you’re on the road and you get a fuel-low warning light. You frantically look for a gas station nearby, but you look in vain. No fuel pumps or gas stations in sight. You drive along as far as you can. Your car coughs and sputters and stalls. You’ve attended to your car’s maintenance, but sometimes unfortunate circumstances are unavoidable.
You try and start her up again, but she won’t turnover. What do you do in this situation? How will your car be affected? How will you get home? These are the questions you might ask while on the side of the road. Don’t fret, when there’s a will, there’s a way.
Is your car damaged?
Running out of fuel is not so clear-cut. Especially in diesel engines, by running out of fuel you run the risk of damaging your car’s fuel delivery system and even the engine itself. Fueling components are vital, and any anomaly may cause your motor to misfire and your piston and valves to go out of sync. If your engine runs lean or is starved of fuel, you could damage your piston and valves, which could cost you a lot of money to repair.
Before running out of fuel, you will notice your engine sputtering and gulping its last few sips. You will gradually feel that your car’s engine will refuse to run. If it runs out of fuel this way and comes to a stop without much drama, there is a good chance that it’ll turn over once you add fuel into its tank.
However, you have to be more careful about diesel motors running dry. Since most diesel engines rely on the fuel delivery system and a high amount of pressure to inject the diesel into the combustion chamber, having no fuel will likely damage the fuel pump or perhaps the injectors.
Move your vehicle to the side of the road
Without fuel, your vehicle is just another obstruction on the road. It is essential to move your vehicle to the side of the road as soon as possible, whether it’s while running out of fuel or after running out of fuel. Make sure not to impede the flow of traffic, and add to your list of problems.
Do whatever it takes to accomplish this. Either let your car freewheel to the side of the road or push. It’s best to push your car with some help. If you’re alone, however, situate yourself in the driver’s side door and be ready to hit the brakes if needed. Be sure to keep your hazard lights on and deploy your early warning device (EWD) which is usually found under the trunk near the spare tire.
Get some fuel
Either phone a friend, walk, or even hitchhike to the nearest gas station. In whatever case, you will need to get fuel. Either you push your car to the station or you go there yourself with a container. You could borrow a container from the gas station as well if you’re quite far.
Make sure you lock your car and that there are no valuables inside that could be stolen. Running out of fuel is bad enough, but losing your belongings is just an unfortunate frosting on an already unwelcomed, unpleasant cake.
How to restart your car
Once you’ve refueled, it’s not as simple as turning the key. Since your fuel pump gulped a lot of air while it was sputtering and coming to a stop, you need to load it up or prime it with fuel again.
To do this, put your car into ignition mode. For cars with rotary or keyed ignitions, turn it to the second notch. For push-start systems, press the button twice without holding down the brake pedal. After doing this you will hear the fuel pump priming. Repeat this step a couple of times, and turn your ignition on and off about 10 times. This will ensure that your fuel pump has fuel inside it.
After this, and if your car is still working, the engine will hopefully turnover and you can be on your way. These types of situations don’t happen often as long as you top up. There are times when you are stuck in traffic, and you can’t get to the gas station, or when you’re on a road trip and don’t see a service station in sight. Either way, just make sure to plan your journeys in advance to avoid mishaps such as this.