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Car Wont Start After Running Out Of Gas? [ Reasons & Fix

Car Wont Start After Running Out Of Gas? [ Reasons & Fix

Have you heard your car sputtering while driving or feel a lack of acceleration despite being at top speed? If yes, you must have wondered what’s the culprit behind all this.

It’s none other than the lack of gas in your car.

Be it a diesel car or petrol car; gas is an important element of your car that keeps it running.

However, due to the lack of gas in the internal combustion engine of your car, you will experience tons of issues like the above ones.

If you notice the pointer stranded at the “E” mark on the fuel gauge, it indicates your car is running out of gas, and in such a case, the car will utilize the air from outside to burn the last bits of fuel.

It may appear feasible in the short run until you get to the gas station for a quick refill; its extended use can cause serious damage to your car. This article will help you with all your queries in this regard and other things.

Reasons why your car won’t start after running out of gas

As said earlier, the autogas is a vital component of your car that starts and keeps it running.

In the scenario your car is running out of gas, it won’t start pretty soon or without you hitting your head hard to get it started.

So, below are a few common reasons why your car won’t start after running out of gas.

The engine won’t start to prevent debris and similar particles from entering your car’s engine.

If it is very little or no gas left in your car, it will intake the air particles from outside to burn the remaining fuel in your car’s internal combustion system.

This debris and similar material are highly dangerous from the safety point of view as they can clog the engine filter, fuel filter, etc.

Though modern engines can withstand such substances with ease, the same isn’t true for cars with older engines.

Hence, you should not try to start the car if the gas is in an insufficient amount in your car.

Starting the car without gas may burn out the fuel pump.

Yes, this is another major issue associated with starting a car with little or no gas.

The engine consumes gas at the highest rate to start the car and keep it running while starting the car. Due to this, you must ensure sufficient gas/fuel in the tank.

A car that starts without gas can burn out the fuel pump, and the car won’t start until you replenish the gas/fuel tank.

It would damage the fuel injectors

Fuel injectors are significant to the car’s fuel pump system as they pump or transport fuel from the fuel tank to the engine and its channels.

Thus, they start their operation as soon as you start your car and continue to work non-stop while the car is ON.

Now, if there is no fuel (i.e., gas) in the tank for the injectors to suck up and supply, it will suck up the fine particles (conceivably, the dust particles) from the fuel tank.

These particles not only clog the fuel filter but also hit the injectors hard. Upon receiving enough damage, the injectors won’t function well even after refilling the gas tank.

It will affect the car’s entire fuel system.

With a car consisting of an interconnected fuel system, the entire system suffers due to insufficient gas in the gas tank or even if a single fuel system component goes under the hammer.

These reasons prevent your car from starting if the pointer is hovering near or at “E” on the fuel gauge.

How long does it take for your car to start after running out of gas?

After running out of gas, it will take a bit longer to start your car than normal.

The exact time in this usually varies from model to model, especially the engine type. For your reference, it would take anything between 15-25 seconds, provided there is a bit of gas left for this purpose.

How do you prime a fuel pump after running out of gas?

First and foremost, priming a fuel pump means removing the air that entered the fuel pump and refilling the fuel lines with fuel. To prime, a fuel pump after running out of gas, follow the below steps.

  • Open the hood of your car and locate the fuel pump and manual primer for it, which will usually take the form of a lever or plunger.
  • Open the bleed plug (plug to eliminate air from the fuel system) on the fuel filter closest to the fuel tank. You can peek into your owner’s manual to know the exact location of this bleed valve/plug.
  • Next, open the fuel supply valve so that the fuel transports to the filter from the pump. You may again need the owner’s manual here.
  • Now, prime the fuel pump by either lifting and lowering the lever or pumping the plunger.
  • Continue priming the fuel pump until a steady fuel stream comes out of the bleed valves without air bubbles.

Once the above last step completes, close the bleed-up and fuel supply valve. Insert the keys in the ignition and turn on your car. It should start now.

Can run out of gas damage your car?

Yes, running out of gas can damage your car’s engine and other components connected via the fuel lines.

These include the fuel pump, fuel injectors, fuel lines, etc. Thus, you should not start your car if the gas tank isn’t full or running short of gas at the moment. Doing otherwise can invite hefty repairing costs.

What happens when you try to start a car with no gas?

You can consider the following damages to your car if you try to start it without gas.

  • Damage to the fuel pump- As its name suggests, a fuel pump pumps fuel to the engine so that the car moves upon pressing the gas pedal. The fuel in the fuel tank is also responsible for keeping the fuel pump well-lubricated and cool. If there is insufficient or no fuel in the tank, the fuel pump will more likely overwork and lose its shape, incurring high repair costs.
  • Clog the fuel injectors-These are the small nozzles that drizzle gas into your engine. When there is no fuel in the tank, the engine will intake outside air full of debris and other contaminants to carry out the combustion of the fuel in the engine. These debris & contaminants have the potential to clog the fuel filters as well as the fuel injectors.
  • Your car will come to a complete halt-In case of less gas; the car will most likely come to a complete halt as the gas tank goes short of the required gas.
  • More power to brake and handle the steering wheel-You will also feel hardness while braking and difficulty handling the steering wheel if there is no or less gas in the tank.

Besides these, there are several other problems your car can incur if driven without no or insufficient gas.


Food for humans and gas for cars carries the same significance.

A filled gas tank assists you in driving and helps maintain the engine and its various interconnected parts like the fuel pump, fuel lines, fuel injectors, etc.

Not having enough gas in the car can negatively affect all these and affect the performance of your car in the long run. Thus, never let your car’s gas tank go below ¼ full.