What Your Car’s Low Gas Light Really Means

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The low fuel warning light on your car’s dashboard is a familiar sight to many drivers, and if you’ve ever allowed the needle to dip below “E” on your gas gauge, you already know that "empty" doesn’t necessarily mean your tank is bone dry. But depending on your vehicle, it could be barely enough fuel to make it to the nearest gas station, or it could get you home with some to spare.

The auto repair service YourMechanic put together a handy chart detailing what the low gas light really means for various makes and models. As you can see below, the featured cars cover a wide range. Motorists behind the wheel of a Chrysler 200, for example, can squeeze as many as 108 miles out of their tank after the light turns on. The owners of a Chevy Silverado don’t have as much room to press their luck: The warning light means they only have 25 miles until their tank runs dry.

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Just because your car can run past the empty line doesn’t mean you should pull a Cosmo Kramer and push it as far as possible. The fuel pump of a near-empty tank burns hotter than it does with a full tank of gas, so the more you drive your car down to the last drop, the greater the risk becomes of burning out the pump. Keep the chart in mind for emergency situations only.

[h/t YourMechanic]

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