How Low Can I Let Gas Tank Get?

Dear Doctor: How much gas should there be in your gas tank before it runs out? I have a 2010 Chrysler Sebring with a 16-gallon gas tank. I have never run out of gas but have run it when the gauge symbol showed “gas needed.” The most I have put in it was 16.3 gallons. What do you think about putting more gas in a tank than it should hold? Beth

Dear Beth: First and foremost, never let the gas tank fall below 1/4 of the tank. The in-tank electric fuel pump sits in gas and is cooled by the gas it sits in. Secondly, the way a vehicle’s computer system is designed when the fuel level gets below 1/4 of the tank the computer richens up the fuel mixture to prevent a lean condition. Thirdly, running the gas below 1/4 will cause additional fuel pump and injector problems because of the fuel pump sucking air not fuel. To the question of how much gas can you squeeze into a 16-gallon tank — just under 17 gallons — if empty. Keep in mind the fuel fill tube also holds gas. Never overfill the gas tank in any vehicle. When the pump nozzle clicks off that’s it — do not try to keep squeezing more gas in the tank.

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