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Hi, I've got a question.


New Member
January 11, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Cartersville, GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 XLT 5.0 V8
Hello everyone, as you can tell I'm very new to this place. Looks fun so I joined. I've got a question about my explorer and I figured this site would be a great place to ask it.

I drive a 1999 Ford Explorer. It's an all-wheel drive 5.0 V8.

I had to get my brakes and rotors replaced recently. I got the car back today and the mechanic told me that I should never drive the car under 1/4 a tank of gas. I was just like, "okay." I got to thinking...why? There must be a reason I shouldn't do this. My car has never run hot even when my check gauge light comes on telling me I need gas. If anyone could maybe answer me why he'd tell me this I'd greatly appreciate it.

Since I'm here and instead of clogging the forums with another thread I was wondering if any of you could tell me just how many miles my Explorer gets when I do have my check gauge light come on. Just so next time it happens I'll know how much further I can go before I'm left pushing my baby to the next gas station.

Thanks in advance everyone.


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Welcome! I've heard theres a couple reasons people say to not go under 1/4 tank. One if, running out of fuel. Ask my GF. The light doesn't always come on. :D

Also, I heard that running the motor while the tank is nearly empty will suck up for contaminated, dirty fuel, and is also bad for the cats. :rolleyes:

That's the word on the street. :D

On level ground, the light will come on with plenty of time to find gas, probably at least 20 miles. Others might be able to guess closer.

The 1/4 tank thing is about the fuel pump. The fuel pump is cooled by the fuel, and if there isn't enough fuel in the tank, it will get hotter and hotter. I usually drive till I'm close to empty, 275 miles at 15MPG. I used to go farther at 17-18MPG.

It is much more important in hot weather to buy gas before you get below about 1/8 tank. In colder weather the fuel pump will be cool longer. Good luck,

I've heard its bad to run it low in the winter also. Some say if you have water in there it will freeze. I personally don't let mine go below half tank. Doesn't cost as much at the pump at one time, and I'm paranoid!

Thank you everyone for the information. It is much appreciated.

The distance you will be able to travel after the illumination of the light varies from Explorer to Explorer.

I always run my gas down to almost empty ( and have for over 100k miles ) with no problems whatsoever.

In 20 years of driving I always run to empty and never had to replace a fuel pump yet. Now that I just jinxed myself... Knock on wood.

As for the water in the gas tank it is really only a concern if you get a bad batch at a gas station or if you park in a heated garage in the winter. (condensation)

If you run it to empty you don't have the chance of building up a bunch of cantaminants and water in your tank. My mom has an Isuzu Rodeo and she would always get the CEL in the winter so she would have to do the Heat additive to dry up the water in the gas. Wouldn't you know her condo has a heated garage. Summer time she is fine though. She also now runs her tank to empty instead of 1/4 left and she doesn't have the issues like she used to.

I have heard that it is bad for the injectors to run almost empty. I can't recall the reason though. I think the fuel which acts as a lub for the injectors leans out becuase of the water and conaminants and could damage them.

Don't quote me..I recall vaguely from my girls VW manual. Its a 2001 fuel injected.


That would only happen if you always kept the tank nearly full, and all the water and crap would collect over years at the bottom of the tank. If you run most of your gas out frequently, you won't get an excess of water and crud. I have always ran all of my cars below a 1/4 tank, and have never had a problem. Only replaced a fuel pump once due to the sender rotting out. I've never had injector problems a bottle of cleaner, or some seafoam didn't fix.

I have always run the gas tank low. I have never had any fuel problems.

The best reason I have to keep the X above a 1/2 tank is running out of gas on a steep hill.
It has happened to me twice that due to the angle of an incline all the fuel has run to the oppsite side of the tank from the pump.
Once parked at work, and I couldn't get off the angle so I had to walk for 5 gallons of gas.
The second time was camping. We had parked on a very steep hill for a few minutes, and couldn't get the rig started again. I simply let it roll to the bottom. Primed the fuel pump a couple times with the key and it fired right up.

I've always wondered about that. I frequently park at a near 45 degree angle(snowbank) at work, and haven't had a problem. I normally park front first, but have backed up it also.