Big bucks if Prius runs out of gas

My dad told me about a friend of his who owns a Prius. He ran out of gas, after adding gas the car would not start, had to be towed to the dealership and then cost several hundred dollars to re-set or reprogram before the car would run. I bought a 2010 Prius for my wife, so Im wondering if this could be true. She panics if the gas gage gets below ? and has never run out of gas in her life, but Im curious if there is an issue if the gas was to run out. THANKS

I’m not sure myself but ask in the shop, queiry the techs, and read the owner’s manual for any warnings of such.
( Maybe it’s their “duh” fee ? )

Running out of gas can be costly with any car, especially if it leads to a broken in-tank fuel pump and the fuel tank needs to be dropped to replace it. Besides, how hard is it to not run out of gas in a car that gets more than 40 miles per gallon?

Your wife has the right approach, and it should help make this a non-issue. You are lucky to have such a wife.

Tell your wife that when the guage gets down to the last “pip” and starts blinking, she still has more than 2.5 gallons left…well over 100 miles.

Read your owner’s manual and find out the fuel tank’s capacity.

Run the darn thing all the way to E sometime and completely fill it up and note the gallons on your receipt (don’t leave it in the machine like alot of lazy people do, pet peeve).

Subtract the gallons pumped from the fuel tank capacity you found in your o-manual and the difference is your fuel reserve. You shouldn’t run out of gas unless you really screw up.

It’s not like the old days. You can’t run out of gas and be sure that there won’t be any damage to any car. It doesn’t have to be a Prius either. Remember, you are getting third hand information and lots of it is lost by the time you get it. Some fuel injected cars will stall if the tank gets below an eighth of a tank, especially if they are facing uphill. Your wife is right to refill it if it gets below a reasonable reserve of fuel.

Thanks for comments and suggestions, great information from all post. I read the owners manual and can?t find any warnings or references to running out of gas. The tank holds 11.9 gallons and I did drive it down to no bars and low fuel light on, and put in 10.1 gallons of gas, which means that at zero bars it still had 1.8 gallons. Since my wife is averaging 49 miles per gallons she should still have 88 miles to drive even with zero bars on the gas gage. My Dads friend must have really been pushing it to run out. Anyway, will ask the dealer, but without a warning in the owners manual, guessing there must be more to the original story than just running out of fuel. THANKS AGAIN for your input

My 2009 Prius ran out of gas. The gauge had been blinking empty, but the display said I was averaging over 40 mpg, the manual said the fuel capacity was 11.8 gal, and the mileage since the last fill-up was just approaching 400. You do the math. (Also, I know people with other cars who routinely run with the gauge indicating “empty”.) Anyway, I was stopped at a red light, and suddenly half the warning lights on the dash lit up and the engine shut off (meaning I was no longer in “Ready” status). Fortunately, I was able to restart it, and there was a gas station half a block ahead. Later, I called my Toyota service department. They said that the gas tank is variable capacity, with 11.8 being the max. The effective capacity varies with the outside temperature. They also said that if you run out of gas, you may be lucky and be able to restart the car and run on the battery. If you’re not lucky, they said what you said - that the car would have to be towed and reprogrammed at a cost of several hundred dollars. I’ve heard that the 2010 Prius does NOT have the variable capacity tank.

Thanks for the added info. I’m sure my wife won’t run out of gas, so likely a moot point. However since the run-away Prius occurred here in San Diego, I did a few test on her car to ensure I could tell her what to do if the car had sudden acceleration. I floored the gas pedal then stepped on the brake at the same time, the engine shut off. I also floored the gas and then shifted into neutral expecting the engine to red line, but the engine just shut off. I was unable to duplicate the conditions the Interstate 8 Prius reported. Tried it with both cruise control on and off. In both cases the engine just shut off. Again my wives Prius is a 2010.

You have to ask yourself WHY SHOULD IT COST SEVERAL HUNDRED $$ TO REPROGRAM? What’s involved in that reprogramming? How many hours does it take? Do only Toyota dealers have the means to reprogram a Prius?

Remind me never to buy one.