How many more miles can I drive when my car fuel light is on?

DRIVING long journeys is often accompanied by a quick stop at the service station to fill up with fuel.

Whether diesel or petrol, you might want to risk it when that red light starts telling you to top up your motor but how far can you go?

How many miles do you have left when the fuel light comes on?

The fuel light is a handy indicator on your dashboard that most of us dread lighting up because it means our wallet is about to get lighter.

Simply put, the fuel light appears when your tank is nearly empty and prompts you to fill up at the earliest convenience.

If your tank is really low, this light may even begin to flash to warn you that your miles are numbered.

Some of us ignore this so much that it is one of the most common issues breakdown rescue teams find when helping motorists on the side of the road.


Making your car go that extra mile could leave you strangedCredit: Getty

Sometimes the next fuel station is not as near as you thought and car splutters to a stop, leaving you stranded on a busy motorway.

In terms of how many miles you have left in the tank until you’re in trouble, every car is different.

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It will depend on the vehicle’s fuel economy, the speed of the car, and the location.

If you’re driving smoothly, on an open road with no traffic lights, you will probably get further than on a wiggly road with lots of stopping and starting.

According to user-generated data from car owners on the Tank On Empty website, most fuel lights will come on when the car has a range of 30 to 50 miles left.

For example, drivers of a Volkswagen Golf report their car driving an additional 44 miles once the fuel light comes on.

Whereas a Ford Fiesta has around 37 miles of driving left after the warning light comes on, according to drivers of the model.

This is a little bit about getting to know your car and testing the limits slightly, see if the manual or any online forums give an estimate.

That being said don’t push it so far that you’re stranded without fuel.

Is it bad to drive with the fuel light on?

Driving with a low fuel light on is a bad idea for your safety, your vehicle and your wallet.

Running out of fuel causes the car to break down, meaning the engine or other parts may be seriously damaged.

Price wise, shopping around for fuel is always a good idea as some supermarkets might price their fuel lower than motorway services for example.

If you are driving with a low fuel light, you might find yourself paying through the nose for petrol when you could have saved by filling up sooner.

Also if you have been driving around on low fuel and then park up, there is no guarantee that the car will have enough left to get you to a station when you come back.

It is better if you’re running low on fuel to take the time to fill up before you run out!

Does every car have a fuel light?

Most modern motors will have a fuel light and if it doesn’t there will be a fuel indicator of some sort.

The light is usually on the dashboard with the speedometer and other engine lights.

Since the 1980s it has been standard to fit a fuel light in new build cars, so even if your car is older it will probably have an indicator.

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If you’re not sure where yours is just check the manual or look online at the specifications of the vehicle.

Garages can also help you find the light but you may be charged for this depending how hard it is to locate.

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