Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Does the Low Fuel Level Warning Light Mean?

Running out of gas is not a fun situation. Having to walk far to a gas station and then back again with the fuel really puts a damper on the driving experience. To prevent this from happening, automakers have a low fuel level warning light on the dash. It may seem redundant when you have the fuel gauge right there already, but the light is an extra signal to remind you to fill your car’s tank as soon as possible.

What the low fuel warning light means

The light has one function: to warn drivers of the low fuel level. When the light comes on, there will still be some fuel in the tank, but not much. You should try to find a gas station as soon as possible if this light illuminates while you’re driving. The distance you can drive with low fuel will vary between different cars, but typically there will be one to two gallons left in the tank when this warning light comes on.

The low fuel warning light will always turn on when starting up the engine to check the bulb, but should go out once the engine has turned over. If the light doesn’t come on when starting up, you may need to have the bulb replaced. A flashing light usually indicates a problem with the fuel gauge where repairs are likely necessary.

Is it safe to drive with the low fuel level warning light on?

While your car’s drivability shouldn’t be affected, it is not good to drive with the light on for extended periods of time. The fuel lubricates and cools the fuel pump and without enough of it, the lack of lubrication will shorten the pump’s lifespan. It is recommended that you always keep the tank at least a quarter full so that the pump will still be mostly submerged even if the liquid gets sloshed around while making a turn.

Replacing the fuel pump can be expensive, so always keep the tank a quarter full and your pump will remain efficient. If your fuel warning light is flashing even when the tank is full, our certified technicians would be able to assist you in diagnosing the problem.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...


Related questions

Q: What does the other Warning Light mean?

The other Warning Light is located on your instrument panel. This light illuminates as a reminder to check or service vehicle items that don’t have their own service lights. The other Warning Light is programmed to come on after a...

Q: Trailblazer 04 vibrates while in Drive or Reverse. There is a raw gas smell on the exhaust.

Hi there. Check the spark plugs on the engine and see if they are fouled out. A fouled out spark plug will cause the cylinder to not fire and let the fuel that is sprayed in go out the exhaust...

Q: Ignition key is locked

Try to move the key closer to the steering column, to see if the key is recognized. If the problem is corrected, then you just need to keep the key closer to the steering column if the driver's side door...