What To Do When You Run Out of Gas
The number of vehicles running out of gas on the road often correlates to the rising cost of gasoline. Here are steps to take if you ever find yourself in that situation.
Running on empty
Turn on your vehicle's hazard lights as soon as it runs out of gas
Don't attempt to coast to the nearest gas station; you could damage your engine
If possible, move to a safe area, such as a parking lot
If that's not possible, pull over to the right side of the road as far as possible
Be aware that steering and braking are more difficult when you're out of gas
Once your vehicle has stopped, please put it in park and apply the parking brake
Call for help
Use your cell phone GPS to determine your location and the nearest gas station
Call roadside assistance, which can bring several gallons of gas to you, or a friend who can drive you to a gas station
If that's unsuccessful, call a ride-sharing service to take you to the nearest gas station
If you can't get a cell phone signal, you should be able to call 9-1-1 for assistance
If you are in a remote area, stay in your car with the doors locked until help arrives
If you don't have a cell phone and need to walk for help, exit through the passenger side
Leave a note on your dash with your name, the date and time, and your direction on foot
Major highways often have emergency call boxes and/or safety service patrols that assist stranded motorists
Remember, planning for such a situation can help you avoid getting into one. Try to remember not to let your gas tank fall below 1/4 full. Also, always have a car phone charger on hand when driving.
Get gas in your tank
Check your owner's manual to determine the minimum amount of fuel needed to protect your vehicle's engine, fuel pump, and catalytic converter
Ideally, have your car on a level surface before slowly pouring gas into the tank
Once you've emptied the gas canister, please place it in the trunk and get back into the car
Start the car
Push down on the gas pedal several times before starting the car
Turn the key or push the starter button
The engine may not turn over the first time. Wait several minutes and repeat the process again
After several tries, there should be enough gas in the fuel system for the engine to start
The car still won't start
If your vehicle's engine doesn't turn over after taking those steps, arrange a towing service to pick up your car.
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Jack R. Nerad, "What Happens When Your Car Runs Out of Gas?," https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/what-happens-when-your-car-runs-out-of-gas, (June 18, 2020).
Sharon Feldman, "What To Do if Your Car Runs Out of Gas," https://safer-america.com/what-to-do-if-your-car-runs-out-of-gas, (April 21, 2022).