Fuel pump is vital to the operation of your vehicle. Without it your vehicle would go nowhere (unless you drive an electric car). Signs of a malfunctioning fuel pump are hard to miss – loss of power, problems accelerating. If it fails altogether, the car simply will not run and fuel pump replacement will become a necessity.
Fortunately, taking good care of the fuel pump is pretty simple. All you have to do is to keep the fuel tank at least 1/3 full at all times. That’s it? Yes. ACDelco recommends that you buy gasoline any time the tank shows 1/3rd full or less. Personal safety experts recommend keeping the tank 1/2 full at all times. Why? For personal safety, you want a vehicle that can go a long distance without having to stop for gasoline – hurricanes, floods and earthquakes cause havoc with gasoline supplies, so being able to get out of the impact zone without stopping for gas is crucial.
But what does that have to do with the health of the fuel pump? Well, most automotive fuel pumps are cooled by the fuel they pump and by being immersed in the fuel – so if your tank is always at least 1/3 full, the fuel pump will be properly cooled at all times, which will extend its lifespan. Another reason not to drive “on fumes” is that moisture and deposits collect at the bottom of the fuel tank. If the tank is close to empty, the fuel pump will ingest these, potentially resulting in fuel filter problems, or even damage to the pump itself.
Naturally, if now and then you keep driving until the low fuel warning light comes on, it will not cause problems. But it’s good to create a habit of filling up the tank when it gets below 50% - keep the tank half full at all times for your peace of mind, and to minimize the chances of needing fuel pump replacement.