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2014 Forester cvt
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many gals do you have left when the fuel light comes on. It happen to me this weekend in the middle of a snow storm and I was really freaking out.

I was only four miles away from a station so I figured I would make it and I did.
 

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2014 Forester XT Touring CVT
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Typically around 30-40 miles.

Try to never run that low in a snowstorm. If you did go off the road or get stuck in a traffic jam, you would not have gas to run your car for long.
 

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2010 2.5X Limited 4-speed Auto
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Typically around 30-40 miles.

Try to never run that low in a snowstorm. If you did go off the road or get stuck in a traffic jam, you would not have gas to run your car for long.
Or even a problem on the open road. I almost never let the fuel level go below the 1/4 mark, especially on a vehicle with as small a tank as Subarus have. If I am traveling in unfamiliar territory, it doesn't get much below a half-tank before I refuel.
 

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2014 Forester Touring CVT
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98 Posts
in my 2011 Forester, i have tracked most of the MPG information in a spreadsheet. My light comes on about when 13.2 gallons are used up, or 3.7 gallons left. (16.9 gallon tank). I have attached my sheet as reference in case it helps anyone.
 

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2004 Forester XT 5 speed
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1,042 Posts
Generally speaking, people have WAY more fuel left in the tank when the light comes on than they think they do. Those warning lights are designed to be super cautious.

I just filled up today, roughly 20 miles after the light turns on. It took 14.382 gallons - tank is supposedly 15.9 gallons, which means at my 17mpg commute I had another 30 miles of range or so. I can't remember the last time I filled up before the light came on, it's really no big deal.

Oh, and for what it's worth, a car should be able to idle for around 2 hours on a gallon of gas. So if you had gotten stuck, you'd have had at least 3 or 4 hours of idle time. Or the better emergency solution, keep a couple extra blankets & water in the back. Or even better than that, buy snow tires and never get stuck.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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How many gals do you have left when the fuel light comes on
~2.6 U.S. gallons (~10 liters), according to the 2014 owner manual, page 3-20.

I can add ~13.7 gallons to my 2012's tank when the low fuel indicator illuminates, suggesting to me that there's ~3.2 U.S. gallons left in the tank (16.9 gallon tank for the U.S. SH modles for 2009-13).

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2014 Forester cvt
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone for the info. By the way, I always have a blanket in the car and a shovel, extra gloves, hat, rations, water, in the winter.

Mike
 

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2011 2.5X Premium, AWP 5MT
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566 Posts
in my 2011 Forester, i have tracked most of the MPG information in a spreadsheet. My light comes on about when 13.2 gallons are used up, or 3.7 gallons left. (16.9 gallon tank). I have attached my sheet as reference in case it helps anyone.
Excellent work skippy. My experience jives very well with your data - under the right conditions I can drive more than 100 miles after my low fuel light comes on.
 

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2007 Forester X Special E 4eat
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20 Posts
My 03X ran out of gas on me 26 kms into the low fuel light (in the summer) I never pushed it that far since or with my 07X, probably not good for the fuel pump to be in such low fuel height. The only time I see the fuel warning is if i'am doing a fuel mileage test on a full tank (light on, get gas now)
L.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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84 Posts
in my 2011 Forester, i have tracked most of the MPG information in a spreadsheet. My light comes on about when 13.2 gallons are used up, or 3.7 gallons left. (16.9 gallon tank). I have attached my sheet as reference in case it helps anyone.
3.7 gallons is a lot, where was your gauge level? Halfway between empty and 1/4 of gas? I have a 2011 model year as well, my light comes on slightly below halfway between 1/4 and empty. I've never ran it down near empty, the most amount of fuel I filled up was around 15 gallons. Thanks.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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2,633 Posts
3.7 gallons is a lot, where was your gauge level? Halfway between empty and 1/4 of gas? I have a 2011 model year as well, my light comes on slightly below halfway between 1/4 and empty. I've never ran it down near empty, the most amount of fuel I filled up was around 15 gallons. Thanks.
The actual amount of fuel left as stated in the manual is an estimate.
It's not a bad idea to know for sure.

All my recent Subies have had 16.9 gallon tanks
My 2012 has 3.5 gallons left in the tank when the light comes on.

The best way to find out where YOUR Subie low fuel light comes on is to let it light up and then fill it up.

If you need to drive a ways to get fuel, reset your trip meter when the low fuel bulb lights up.
The trip meter will reset your mpg for current usage as well, so...
If you drive 25 miles after the low fuel light comes on, and you are getting 25 mpg indicated, it's one additional gallon.
(mileage/mpg = gallons used)
Subtract the gallons at fill up (plus what you used since the light was on) from 16.9 (or your tank's capacity) and then you know exactly what you have left in your tank when your indicator illuminates.

Measuring is the only way to know for sure.
As others have stated, it's not a great idea to run your car to empty.
If you've had dirty fuel ever pumped into your tank, the gunk is concentrated at the bottom.
But -
If you've got a choice to get much cheaper gas some distance away, and you know you can easily make it, (or maybe more importantly, you know you WON'T !), you can make an appropriate decision.
 

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'21 ISM Crosstrek Limited
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I never question the cost of a gasoline... given it has the quality and octane I want.

In the summer or on a long trip I'll run it down to a quarter tank, sometimes even less, but in the winter and for normal life I begin to feel pressured to refill at a third.

On long trips, especially when I'm unsure of the facilities or where/when I'll be, I take a small can of gasoline with me. I've rued the time before I did that, kept fresh with memories of why.
 

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2004 Forester XT 5 speed
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1,042 Posts
The actual amount of fuel left as stated in the manual is an estimate.
It's not a bad idea to know for sure.
Agreed...

All my recent Subies have had 16.9 gallon tanks
My 2012 has 3.5 gallons left in the tank when the light comes on.
Subaru might claim to have 16.9 gallon (or 15.9 in my SG), but I've never met anyone who has ever been actually been able to squeeze that much in. Mine definitely overflows at just over 14.9 gallons - a gallon shy of advertised. I've heard/read similar reports from SH owners who can only get 15.9 in their 16.9 gallon tanks.

As others have stated, it's not a great idea to run your car to empty.
If you've had dirty fuel ever pumped into your tank, the gunk is concentrated at the bottom.
Ah, this old chestnut. Fuel pickup is at the bottom of the tank. If there's crap in there, it's going to attempt to be sucked through no matter how much fuel you habitually keep.
 

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2018 XT Touring CVT
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41 Posts
I did a "white knuckle" test of this shortly after I got my vehicle.

Although it was at night and fairly cold, I knew exactly where the 24-hour gas station was where I wanted to refuel, and the road was well marked with mile markers, so at any given point I knew how far I had to go. This was interstate driving (in a place where traffic is almost never congested), and the average consumption and range to empty data were fairly helpful.

When I refueled, the range to empty was saying about 38, and I put in about 14.5 gallons, meaning there was about a gallon and a half in the tank. So 38 miles for the range seemed pretty accurate. But given how inaccurate pump shutoffs are (I forced the pump to do a second shutoff), it's certainly possible that there could have been less than 1.5 gallons in the tank.

So I'll agree that it's safe enough to go about a gallon's worth more once the light goes on. I don't think it's really worth it to push beyond that, although under the right conditions and some luck you could maybe risk another gallon.
 

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SierraHotel
2010 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
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545 Posts
Since most of my driving is local, I almost never get gas until the low fuel light illuminates...then fill it up at the nearest station. It will take about 13.5 gallons almost without fail. That would mean that I have about 3.4 gallons left in my 16.9 gallon tank.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5 Limited
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47 Posts
Typically around 30-40 miles.

Try to never run that low in a snowstorm. If you did go off the road or get stuck in a traffic jam, you would not have gas to run your car for long.
Rightly said. I always make sure I do not run below 1/2 of tank capacity in winter. Summer, I maintain at least 1/4th. Read some articles on internet and you will get scientific reasoning behind same. It has something to do with condensation in tank. Apart from science, it is logical that you need to make sure you have enough gas in case of emergency weather situations.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i MT
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324 Posts
Rightly said. I always make sure I do not run below 1/2 of tank capacity in winter. Summer, I maintain at least 1/4th. Read some articles on internet and you will get scientific reasoning behind same. It has something to do with condensation in tank. Apart from science, it is logical that you need to make sure you have enough gas in case of emergency weather situations.
I too am in the 1/2 tank crowd. As I understand it, because the tank is vented, regular changes in atmospheric barometric pressure pumps outside air in and out of your tank. Humid air that entered when warm, will condense when it gets cold. You end up with water in your tank. The more empty volume in your tank, the more condensed water. Since almost all gas contains ethanol, this in turn can lead to “phase separation,” where the water-ethanol mix settles to the bottom of the tank, while the octane-depleted fuel sits on top, and then in some cases, a third layer of just water at the bottom.

So then I ask, so what, and found this:

"If this happens and you try to start the engine you can have one or more of the following problems. If your fuel tank pick-up tube is in the water layer, most likely the engine will fail to start. If the engine is running and suddenly draws water you can have damage from thermal shock or hydro-lock. If the pick-up tube draws the Ethanol-Water mixture or just Ethanol you can have problems where the engine will operate in an extreme lean condition, which can cause significant damage or even catastrophic failure. If the pick-up tube draws the gasoline, it will operate very poorly due to lower octane that is the result of no longer having the Ethanol in the fuel."
 
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