What your fuel gauge is telling you

It’s a bad idea to repeatedly run your fuel tank low since the pump, located in the tank, depends on a reliable supply of cool fuel to keep it lubricated—and other tips

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Honda Pilot $34,820–$48,420“My Camry has a low-fuel warning light and a distance-to-empty indicator. When the fuel warning light comes on, the distance indicator says 20 km left. When I fill up, it only takes 55 litres. The specs for the gas tank say 65 litres. Can you explain the difference?”

—Jeff, Ottawa

In APA vehicle testing, the low fuel warning will usually come on when there is about 8-10 litres of fuel left in the tank. The distance-to-empty reading is of variable accuracy at this low level, and it is possible that the manufacturer built in a margin of safety to reduce the likelihood of running totally dry. It’s a bad idea to repeatedly run your fuel tank low—the pump is located in the tank and depends on a reliable supply of cool fuel to keep it lubricated.

George Iny is the president of the Automobile Protection Association. Send him your automotive questions at ask@moneysense.ca

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