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Discussion Starter #1
I had an opportunity a couple days ago to run out of gas safely, within EV limp mode of several stations. Went 45 miles below zero range and as it was getting dark, gave up (ran sport mode last 10 miles to hurry the process). Still have valuable information, filled up my 11.9 gallon rated tank to 12.7 gallons! In the past year, I have three times filled up at around zero range to exactly 11.9 gallons, but I wanted to know what my reserve really was. 8/10 of a gallon (minimum) is the answer! But that must be close to the maximum.

Useful information for those who top off and want to know if it is safe to bypass the expensive stations when running close to empty. Fewer fill ups are a luxury. Take your average actual mpg and multiply by .8 to get your true reserve when range remaining is zero. For me, 40 miles is safe. I've already got a real 45 miles in 40 degree weather. For those with 18" tires and/or a brisk driving style, perhaps 25 miles is a good estimate.
 

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Great info! More times than I'd like to admit or can remember (10? 20?) in my '98 Civic hatchback, I drafted behind semis for 10-20 miles while I prayed that I wouldn't run out of gas and contemplated how far I'd have to run/walk if I did. But that car had a true max range of 330-370 miles. I don't think this will happen often with my new Niro HEV !
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In the summertime, I've never filled up below 620 miles. Now that I know the true range, it will likely be more like 650. My best tank was 701 miles, but I guess I could have gone 740 safely.
 

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A few miles after the low fuel light came on, a warning message came up saying “Refuel now to prevent hybrid battery damage.”

My wife was in the car and she was freaking out over the message. The DTE monitor showed 24 miles of range left. After refueling right after this occurred, it only took a hair shy of 10 gallons to fill up.

I have found on multiple occasions since that when the DTE gauge hits zero, there is still at least 1.5 gallons of gas left. At 50 mpg that leaves 75 miles of gas left when the car says there is no more range.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Damage can only occur after running out of gas and going excessive distance in EV in "limp" mode. I've seen the warning a dozen times, and as I said, I failed to run out of gas because of the huge reserve when you hit zero range. If it damages the battery, seems to me it would be the fault of the programmers. In any case, very unlikely to damage the battery, and the warranty would then cover replacement.
 

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I had an opportunity a couple days ago to run out of gas safely, within EV limp mode of several stations.
Why anyone would TRY to run out of gasoline is beyond me. As I understand it, the fuel actually lubricates and cools the fuel pump. Running super low on gas or running out can shorten the life of the fuel pump dramatically. However, it's you vehicle so do whatever you want.
 

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I guess I'm paranoid...I would never do this experience..did this too many times when I was younger when you had no idea what was left in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Why anyone would TRY to run out of gasoline is beyond me. As I understand it, the fuel actually lubricates and cools the fuel pump. Running super low on gas or running out can shorten the life of the fuel pump dramatically. However, it's you vehicle so do whatever you want.
I explained my rationale post 1. Not beyond you, above you!
 

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Why anyone would TRY to run out of gasoline is beyond me. As I understand it, the fuel actually lubricates and cools the fuel pump. Running super low on gas or running out can shorten the life of the fuel pump dramatically. However, it's you vehicle so do whatever you want.
While I understand that for many (most?) cars this isn't accurate (fuel cooling the pump), I would be more concerned with picking up whatever grunge has settled to the bottom of the tank. Sure, my car is new, but over time you do get sediment in the tank. I'd rather not get that close to the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
While I understand that for many (most?) cars this isn't accurate (fuel cooling the pump), I would be more concerned with picking up whatever grunge has settled to the bottom of the tank. Sure, my car is new, but over time you do get sediment in the tank. I'd rather not get that close to the bottom.
Fortunately for you, I did it so you don't have to. And now you know you don't have to be late filling up just because range remaining is close to zero. You still have lots of miles left before grunge. Which hopefully your fuel filter, well, filters!
 

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Does the fuel filter ever need to be changed? Is it in the tank? Hard to do? Seems to be a forgotten item in newer cars these days.
 

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For me, 40 miles is safe. I've already got a real 45 miles in 40 degree weather. For those with 18" tires and/or a brisk driving style, perhaps 25 miles is a good estimate.
Do I understand it correctly. You are saying when the gauge says 0 you actually have +- 40 miles to go?
 

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While I understand that for many (most?) cars this isn't accurate (fuel cooling the pump), I would be more concerned with picking up whatever grunge has settled to the bottom of the tank. Sure, my car is new, but over time you do get sediment in the tank. I'd rather not get that close to the bottom.

Not sure why this urban legend has persisted for so many generations. Your fuel gets pumped from the very bottom of the tank regardless of what the fuel level is. If there's sediment in there, it's getting sucked up whether your tank is empty or full or anywhere in between. That's what we have fuel filters for.
 

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The only sediment that is in your tank is either: 1) Too large to fit into fuel intake, or 2) will be sucked up during the very next tank gas, no matter what you try to do to prevent it. Point being - you're going to suck up exactly the same amount of sediment regardless of how low you let your fuel level drop to. Trying to keep sediment out of your pump is a futile effort.



People who still believe this urban legend are refueling more often than they need to, and not getting any real benefit from doing so (besides, apparently, feeling some sort of false peace of mind).


It's like saying that if you never let your iced tea get below half full in your cup, you'll avoid sucking too much sugar through the straw.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do I understand it correctly. You are saying when the gauge says 0 you actually have +- 40 miles to go?
Actually, my last three fills were 57 or 58 miles below zero range remaining, and still didn't take as much gas as my original experiment. I still think 40 miles is safer for most to avoid the hassle of running out of gas, still leaving a significant margin for error. Went 719 miles on one of those three tanks!

If the range remaining is consistent, then no matter how you fill the tank won't matter. But just so you know, I top off every tank. By the way, the gauge doesn't actually read zero, it switches at mile zero from one mile remaining to three hyphens and stays there. I reset my second trip meter when the three hyphens appear to track my remaining driven miles. It would be cool if the range remaining went negative! One less manual step for me.

Looking at my last three tanks, the range remaining may not be consistent, as the fill amount varied by half a gallon (12.188, 12.721, 12.076) despite the same amount of below zero miles. That could have been due to the angle of my car at the station, but I tend to optimize that as well - for faster topping off if nothing else.
 

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On the Toyota Sienna Forum an individual was asking for help with some codes his Sienna was showing. It turns out when his Father in Law borrowed his van he wanted to be a nice guy and topped off the van as much as he could. He topped off so much he pumped gas into the evapaorative canister system and saturated the canister with gas .He is now going through the pains of replacing the fume collection system canister and clearing codes.

Be careful when topping off realizing that you can force gas into places only fumes should be going causing some expensive damage.

Most manuals state and individuals suggest when the pumps first shuts off that is a great time to stop the fill cycle to prevent overfilling.

Just a precautionary note in case you weren't aware of this potential problem with overfilling.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The Niro manual makes no such warning. No warning in the last car I owned manual as well - and no damage in 17 years of filling up. By the way, that car routinely filled two gallons past first click. Silly to stop there.

I don't pressure fill the tank, it fills by gravity. No forcing. If gas destroys part of the emissions system, that is a warranty item. Do you realize a ten cent loop in the fume collection system or a twenty five cent check valve would prevent any damage? How do you stop consumers from filling up their tanks? Don't you think manufacturers would do something about this if it was really a problem? Pretty costly to do it under a federally mandated emissions warranty.

But should I ever be in the position of filling up a Toyota Sienna, I'll be sure to stop a gallon short of rated capacity just in case!
 
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