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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 12-01-2009, 10:08 AM   #1
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Question How far can you get after the fuel light comes on?

After watching Top Gear test how far they could drive on one tank of fuel, I was curious how far an e46 may drive. I have had my '99 323i down to 1 miles to empty and was completely frightened about running out before I got there. Does anybody know how far you can drive (if your driving completely economically) after the amber fuel light comes on or how far after you hit zero (top gear drove their Jaguar a long way past zero miles to empty)? And what happens if your car does run out of fuel? Is it easy to get it going again? I am willing to test this... eventually, but would like to hear from you guys first. Sorry if this has been posted before, I have searched everywhere for it though.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
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Is anybody else thinking of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer runs the car below the 'E'?

I came darn close to running out last night on my way home from work last night. I didn't think to check the range meter, so I don't know how low it actually got in terms of what the computer thought was still there. I'd like to know what your results are if you do a test.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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You have to take incline/decline into consideration. Once on a decline at a red light when I was under 1/8 tank, the car sputtered like I lost a couple cylinders and the SES light came on. I limped to the nearest parking lot on level ground and shut it off. After restarting it the SES light went out and it ran fine again. I went straight to the gas station and have not ran that low since. I don't know how many miles the computer estimated til empty, but when hills are around it doesn't matter. Plus, if your pump runs w/o gas then you have potential to ruin the pump. Really not something I want to test.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:18 AM   #4
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I ran mine down to about 5 miles left.

Subscribed, I'd like to see where this goes.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:21 AM   #5
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It is widely variable and testing it will tell you little. People have run out of fuel when the dash indicates 50+ miles remaining, while others have gone past zero. The mileage indicator is based on your average consumption, not an absolute number based on the quantity of fuel left.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:21 AM   #6
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I drove about ~50miles but didn't die yet... so I filled

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Old 12-01-2009, 10:33 AM   #7
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I can do 62 Miles easy, max range with one tank of diesel was 1227 Km's / 762 Miles
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:05 AM   #8
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I dont even risk it! I try not to let the light come on.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:30 AM   #9
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A couple weeks ago I ran a little low trying to find a gas station because I forgot there was no exit to the gas station I was trying to get to. Ended up driving miles and miles to the next station. My car said 18 miles left and when I checked the hidden computer fuel left, it said 1.9 litres left. I'm not sure how much fuel is left after it gets to 0....
Vancouver, BC
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:45 AM   #10
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As soon as it goes on, check the On Board Computer for the range left - probably in the range of 30 mi/ 50 km.
After an experience of going from 15 km left to 0 in the space of one block and running out of gas, I fill up before it runs below 20 km left. Running out of gas can be fatal to the fuel pump.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:47 AM   #11
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I've gone down to 4 miles and 7 miles. Pretty nerve racking.

My friend with a Saab has run out of fuel twice. One time the range meter said 35 miles.

I'd be pissed.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:21 PM   #12
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Driving under the yellow light for long period would be not caring for your car well being at all. Same to me as not performing oil service once the counter indicates to do so. Back to subject, I always try to refuel as it reaches the 1/2 tank mark whenever possible.

Had my couple events as everyone, this one time w/low fuel warning light on, I was picking up a friend, parked on the left side of road (car slightly tilted to the left) and I start to notice how the needle marker slowly inclined to the left as well, as if the car was shutdown. I then enable the OBC function to show a decreasing number in both range and amount of fuel. Got nervous as it reached almost 0 and proceeded to level out the car, it came back to 6 L within the next 5 mins. I filled up afterwards.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:30 PM   #13
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how far? for me the farthest i will go as soon as the light came on is the nearest gas station....
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:35 PM   #14
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i just fill up half way.
You can just call me seth.

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Old 12-01-2009, 12:37 PM   #15
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I've run mine down to 8kms (5miles) a few times. It's not good to do this from the fuel pumps perspective, but if you plan on changing your fuel filter within a short period of time, then it's a good idea to run it down as low as your nerves will let you. Reason being that when you run it down really low you pick up any crap that's sitting in the bottom of the tank and send it to the filter.
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:12 PM   #16
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when the light comes on for me, i usually have 60 miles on the range.

I try not to let the range counter go below 10miles.

but one time ...

I was coming back from the gym with about 14 miles left on the range. Home is 9 miles away, all highway, so i thought, "no biggie i'll go home, wake up tomorrow and fill up."

When i got home the range was like 2 miles ...

Next morning I wake up, fire the car up ... back out of the garage, 1 mile...
Leave the driveway ... 0 miles...

Get out of the neighborhood ... " ---- "

The gas station was about 1.5 miles away ... but WHAT A RUSH!!! You haven't lived until you've driven your car past zero on the DTE gauge hahha.

I filled up for 16.37 gal at the pump. The tank is either 16.4 or 16.5 gallons.

That gives me an additional range of:

a) 0.9mi~3.9mi @ 30mpg ....
b) 0.6mi~2.6mi @ 20mpg

YMMV of course, but there is life after zero haha. Don't worry, i don't see this as an accomplishment, just an interesting funny experience that didn't end it total disaster.
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:15 PM   #17
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i've brought it down to zero once

scared sh*tless lol.... however i always try to keep my car above a half.... you kill your fuel pump when you go that far down
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:43 PM   #18
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always fill when it reached half
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:56 PM   #19
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My low fuel light comes on when i have about 80-90kms left on the tank. I've run the tank down to 0 a few times, mainly because, one second I have 50 kms indicated as the range and then a few kms later it has dropped to 20kms. I figure I'm good for about 10kms past the - - - - on the range indicator.
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:02 PM   #20
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Ive gotten mine down to 5 before i exited and by the time i got to the gas station about 500 feet from the exit it reached 2

My cousins X3 ran outta gas when the range meter said 9 miles...idk if this affects it but she uses 89 octane
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empty, fuel, miles

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