Ride “on a light bulb” = slowly ruin the engine. This is an old myth!


Among motorists, there are at least two horror stories for those who like to burn the tank to the last drop: either the tank will rust, or the electric motor of the fuel pump will fail. The Driving experts tested both statements in practice by setting an experiment.

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There is nothing more powerful and creative than the void that people seek to fill.
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

When only a couple of liters of gasoline splashes in the tank, it’s not only the idea of ​​getting on the road that scares. The world is not without good people – they will help. There is another horror story, which is frightened, first of all, by owners of cars with fuel injection. The storyline is this: if the electric motor of the fuel pump starts to run dry, swallowing air, immediately there will be scoring, dust will sprinkle, and it will pull with smoke. And only a tugboat will help, and then a service. And from sparking pump brushes in the tank, the air-fuel mixture may erupt!

They also say that lack of fuel is harmful to the tank. Condensation settles on its walls, hence corrosion, loss of tightness and other passions. The moral of the horror story is this: the less fuel in the tank, the worse.

And in fact?

Let’s start with the fuel pump. With an incomplete tank, he, in theory, should periodically not grab fuel – during sudden acceleration or braking, as well as in corners. But modern gas tanks are very different from their ancestors, close in design to a bucket. They have numerous internal partitions that prevent the ebb and flow of fuel.

The fuel pump is located in a special glass, which also prevents wave formation. The glass is pressed to the bottom of the fuel tank with a special stamping (bottom), and therefore the fuel will be consumed almost to the last drop. The pump will begin to swallow air only when the fuel remains at the bottom. And then what will happen?

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Brushes can really spark, but there will be no harm. After all, the concentration of gasoline vapors in the tank is immeasurably higher than stoichiometric, and therefore such a mixture will not erupt. And even more so the diesel fuel will not catch fire from a spark.

What will happen to the pump if the fuel runs out completely? Oddly enough, it’s okay. The pump will shut off after a couple of seconds. As soon as it ceases to create the necessary pressure (and what pressure is without fuel?), The motor will immediately die out, and the controller will stop powering the electric motor.

Not afraid of a small amount of fuel and fuel tanks. Almost all of them are now made of plastic, which, as you know, does not rust. Less commonly encountered metal tanks are always coated on the inside with an anti-corrosion compound. And the life of this coating, in comparison with the outer parts of the car, is simply heavenly: it is never attacked either by sandblasting, tree branches, or other ill-wishers. Therefore, the water trapped in the fuel tank will not force it to rot before it happens to the car body. And we especially recommend that you use any isopropyl alcohol-based fuel dehydrator – it won’t be any worse.

But all the same, it’s interesting – what will happen if, for some reason, the pump continues to idle? Will it overheat and turn off? Or will it jam at all?

Ritual murder

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We love to check everything on our own. They took a couple of fuel pumps, connected them to laboratory sources at a voltage of about 14 V, and began to wait for dying rales and other horrors. Five minutes … Ten … Fifteen … But after half an hour, both pumps continued to buzz merrily, and the current they consumed remained unchanged.

Then we decided to take extreme measures and artificially braked one of the pumps with a screwdriver. The current consumption jumped up immediately, the case began to heat up. Five minutes later, when the pyrometer showed 60 ° C on the surface, and the smoke fell from the insides, the torture was stopped. The screwdriver was pulled out, the room was ventilated, the pump was turned by the impeller, and he … spun again! Subsequent disassembly showed that there were no molten parts in the guts of the martyr.

Conclusion: the pump will not die from a lack of fuel. Never. Checked!

  • Nevertheless, a five-liter canister with a fuel supply in the trunk will not be superfluous on a long journey. How to choose the right one, read here.

Photo: depositphotos.com

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