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Fading fuel

You gave Liesa some bad advice. You told her to run her fuel low enough for the low fuel light to come on and then fill the tank to see how much she has left. You actually told her to do this several times!! We all know that most newer cars have their electric fuel pump in the tank and that the gas itself keeps the pump cool. By runnig the tank nearly emptey, she will be overheating the pump and cutting down on its life. You wouldn’t be trying to bolster your fuel pump replacement business, would you??

Normally it would not be a problem to do it a few times. It might give a little additional wear on the fuel pump, but even when the light comes on the pump should still being cooled enough.

Normally it is a poor idea to run your fuel down that low but the biggest problem is running out of fuel. Foolish.

On the car I currently own (2004 F-150) I have run my fuel so low that I have seen that “low fuel” light come on dozens of times,the vehicle has never had any repair (70,000 miles) just service.Just one mans experience in the “overheating fuel pump” warning.Did this warning come in the form of a Technical Service Bulletin?

Most of the pump cooling is from the fuel flowing THROUGH the pump, not bathing the pump. The way the pump sits (vertically above the strainer “sock”) it gets exposed above the fuel level well before the gas light comes on. The main thing that immersing the pump in the fuel does is keep it quieter.

I routinely run my cars (yes more than one, over many years) down until the fuel light comes on before refilling the tank. I have never, in hundreds of thousands of miles, ever had a fuel pump failure. I really don’t understand this deep seated fear some people have of using all the fuel in the tank. If running down to the fuel light causes problems, then it’s a damned poor design, but I have not seen it in the various makes and models I’ve owned over the last 25 years or so.

No, it that were the case, cars with external fuel pumps would be dropping like flies.
Nowdays, most vehicles with in-tank pumps also have the regulator in the tank/pump assembly, so the fuel does not take the round trip to a hot engine and back to the tank, this helps keep the fuel cool.

I found out the answer to this question… call the dealer and they will tell you. My 2003 Acura RSX has 2 gallons left when the indicator light comes on. Why did I call the dealer? My local gas station charged me for 14.3 gallons of gas when my owner’s manual states fuel tank capacity of 13.2 gallons and my fuel indicator light had not come on yet. In other words, I had at least 2 gallons in my tank, plus the 14.3 I got charged for = 16.3 gallons of gas in a car with fuel tank capacity of only 13.2. Three gallons of gas x $3.95/gallon = $11.85 overcharged!!! Got any suggestions for this problem?

Find out who in your state regulates this, and file a complaint. The station is breaking some law.

Thanks for your reply… I did file a complaint and the attorney general’s office (weights & measures) checked it out about a week later. They found the tank to be accurate. Do stations have the ability to recalibrate the tanks?

By ‘tank’ you mean ‘pump’, right? And yes, they are calibrated, that’s why they’re checked. Only thing left to do is throw yourself on the mercy of the store owner…good luck with that!

There’s an easy way to confirm the accuracy of their pump: Fill a gas can for the lawn mower with exactly 1 or two gallons of water and mark the level on the outside with a sharpie. Take the can to the same station, same pump. Fill to the line and observe the gallons indicated on the pump. It should be spot-on. I’d bet the farm that their pump is accurate, even if weights and measures hadn’t just been there.