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How many miles can you drive when the fuel light comes on?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 10 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Maintenance

Find out which car makes and models give you the most miles after your fuel light comes on.

With panic buying happening in petrol forecourts across the country and fuel shortages on the rise as a result, many people will be wondering when they’ll next be able to fill up their tank. 

Across all makes and models, including the ones featured in this guide, the average distance you can drive your car after the fuel light comes on is 49.61 miles.

Below, you can find out exactly how far some of the most popular car makes and models will go once the low fuel light comes on.

Guide contents:













Frequently Asked Questions

Audi fuel reserve

  • A1 - 45.1 miles

  • Q5 - 63.82 miles

BMW fuel reserve

  • 3 Series - 60.59 miles

Fiat fuel reserve

  • 500 - 37.14 miles

Ford fuel reserve

  • Fiesta - 41.07 miles

  • Focus - 53.01 miles

Kia fuel reserve

  • Sportage - 45.7 miles

  • Rio - 49.65 miles

Mercedes-Benz fuel reserve

  • A Class - 53.08 miles

Mini fuel reserve

  • Cooper - 37.52 miles

Nissan fuel reserve

  • Qashqai - 54.89 miles

Skoda fuel reserve

  • Fabia - 48.56 miles

  • Octavia - 57.7

Toyota fuel reserve

  • Yaris - 50.58 miles

Vauxhall fuel reserve

  • Corsa - 41.93 miles

  • Mokka - 52.19 miles

Volkswagen fuel reserve

  • Golf - 55.61 miles

  • Polo - 45 miles

Frequently Asked Questions

How far can you drive on 0 miles to empty?

Which car make gives the most miles?

Which car model gives the most miles?

Which car manufacturer gives the least miles?

Which car model gives the least miles?

What happens when a car runs out of petrol?

How far can you drive on 0 miles to empty?

This is a difficult question because the answer will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your driving style, weather conditions and the make and model of your car.

Most modern cars don’t have a separate reserve tank but they will probably give you a few more miles after the dial hits zero. 

YouTuber AutoVlog put his 4V Ford Fusion to the test in 2017, managing 21.6 miles after the fuel gauge first reached zero. You can watch the video here.

That being said, driving with extremely low fuel can damage your engine, so it’s best to fill up at the earliest opportunity.

Which car make gives you the most miles after the low fuel light comes on?

Out of the makes we have included, Ford cars tend to let you drive the furthest after your low fuel light comes on, with an average distance of 54.94 miles across the Fiesta, Focus, Galaxy, KA, Kuga, Mondeo and S-Max ranges.

Which car model gives you the most miles after the low fuel light comes on?

The best performer out of the car models above is the Audi Q5, which gives you an impressive 63.82 miles. In second place is the BMW 3 Series with 60.59 miles. 

Which car manufacturer gives you the least miles after the low fuel light comes on?

Mini performs the worst. The Cooper offers just 37.52 miles, so if you see that light on your dash, get yourself to the nearest petrol station as quickly as you can!

Which car model gives you the least miles after the low fuel light comes on?

It's the perennially-popular Fiat 500 with only a modest 37.14 left in the tank.

What happens when a car runs out of petrol?

Whether you drive a petrol or diesel car, running out of fuel is bad news - and not just because it could leave you stuck by the side of the road!

Especially in older cars, damage starts to happen even before you drain the last drop of fuel. This is because the older fuel at the bottom of the tank might have sediment in it which could block the fuel filter and damage the fuel lines.

When you have no fuel in the tank at all, your fuel pump starts drawing in air, causing it to overheat and eventually wear out. The situation is worse for diesel cars, which rely on fuel to lubricate the fuel pump and fuel injectors.

However, that doesn't mean you should rush out and fill up your tank as soon as you can. The fuel crisis we're currently experiencing is being caused mainly by panic buying itself rather than actual shortages and will pass. Please only fill up if you really need to (or when the warning light comes on - of course!).

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