If your check engine light starts blinking and won’t go off after running out of gas, this guide is for you. We researched what causes the light to come on and found helpful info that we have shared with you below.
Your check engine light after running out of gas comes on because your vehicle computer likely interprets pressure drop at fuel rails due to low gas as a faulty injection or fuel pump.
In the following article, we have shared more helpful information about the check engine light showing up after you run out of gas and how you can solve the issue.
Why check engine light after running out of gas comes on?
The check engine light most likely shows up when you run out of fuel to warn you of low fuel pressure.
Running out of gas means the vehicle computer will detect fuel starvation and pressure drops at the fuel rails and conclude there must be an issue with the injection or fuel pump.
As a result, it will output a blinking light to warn you of low fuel pressure. In most cases, scanning the error code for this issue will indicate “low fuel pressure.”
When you fill your tank and drive around a bit, the light might reset on its own.
When this happens, you don’t have to panic. It’s common for fuel pressure to fluctuate whenever your car is running out of gas, and this can cause misfires—prompting the CEL (check engine light) to come on!
You just need to walk to a gas station to have your car fueled. When you restart it, the CEL or MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) may not go away immediately. Instead, it may hang around for a couple of ignition cycles.
If you want, you can take your car to AutoZone to have the stored codes looked up.
Alternatively, you can do the reading yourself if you have the scanner. In most cases, you’ll find the warning codes are for low fuel pressure, lean exhaust, or just a random misfire.
How long does it take for the check engine light to reset after running out of gas?
The check engine light can rest itself after a few ignition cycles after you fill up your car and give it a few ignition starts.
Or After you fill up, you can drive your car around for around 50 miles to help reset the system.
Sometimes the CEL won’t go off automatically, meaning you have to shut it off on your own. The check engine light may still linger even after you have your tank filled and cover up to 50 miles afterward.
If this happens, you may want to take things into your hands and reset the code yourself. How exactly to do that? Let’s find out below…
How do you turn off check engine light after running out of gas?
FIRST things first…make sure the gas cap is tightly fitted. You may have forgotten to tighten the cap after filling up your tank. And this could be the reason the light fails to automatically reset as we have explained previously.
If that doesn’t solve things, there are other methods you can try.
One such method would be using your OBDI analyzer. If you own an OBDII scanner (this helpful tool is pretty affordable and will cost around $100 only).
It can help clear or delete the code causing the light to blink and hopefully make the CEL go off.
What if the code analyzer doesn’t work?
Try the battery turn on/off method. This is where you disconnect the battery for a few minutes and then hook it back up.
This trick clears the error codes in most cases and also takes out the light. So, make sure you have the code before you perform this hack.
When should you take your car to the dealership?
If none of the methods we have discussed above seem to work for you, we suggest taking your vehicle to your dealership for professional help.
The good thing about reaching out to your dealership is that they may have vehicle-specific tools that can help diagnose and fix your car’s underlying problem.
Supposing you have already deleted the codes and done a battery turn on/off on your vehicle, the error codes may have cleared. As such, you should present your dealership with codes you obtained using your OBD2 analyzer.
If they’re unable to find the source of the problem using the code you send them, they may ask you to take the car to them.
They’ll use vehicle specific tool that pulls out different codes from what you got with your scanner—enabling them to uncover the exact problem ailing your car and reset the CEL for you, of course, at a cost.
Why check engine light comes on when gas tank is half full?
If you notice your check engine light showing up whenever your gas tank hits half full, this is your part.
Your check engine light coming on when the gas tank hits full may be a safety feature of your vehicle that helps ensure you don’t run out of gas while on the road. In this case, filling up your car will make the light go away automatically.
It might also be a simple issue with a loose gas cap. Simply give the cap an extra turn to tighten it and you might be surprised the problem goes away.
However, if that doesn’t work, you can try another cheap fix which is utilizing a scanner to help clear the error code and make the light go off. Be sure to note down the code and check it up to see if it gives you the root cause of the CEL.
If none of these simple fixes seem to work, then the culprit could be the evaporative system (EVAP) canister or hose having a crack or not connected, causing fuel vapors to escape from the fuel system into the atmosphere.
Finding this leak will require you to use special equipment and apply advanced testing procedures. So, it’s best to have it done by a professional mechanism at your local auto repair shop or at the dealership.
Can running out of gas cause a cylinder misfire?
Yes, low fuel may cause a cylinder misfire in some vehicles. When a vehicle runs out of fuel, the fuel pump will run dry, causing it (the pump) to generate excessive heat amounts, and it can sometimes fail.
Or the pump may not fail completely but it fails to pump fuel to its capacity, resulting in low fuel pressure which then causes a misfire. This will cause the check engine light to show up and a scanner will most likely produce misfire codes.If you’ve ever experienced the panic of the check engine light coming on after running out of gas, you’re not alone. But did you know that other activities, such as getting a car wash or disconnecting your battery, can also cause the light to come on? Our articles on what to do when the check engine light comes on after a car wash and what to do when the check engine light comes on after disconnecting the battery can help you diagnose and fix these issues. We provide easy-to-follow guides and tips to help you get your car back in top shape, so you can enjoy your ride with peace of mind.
1. Will a check engine light come on if you run out of gas?
Absolutely! Check engine light will come on if you run out of gas as there will be fuel pressure fluctuation. The system will interpret this as a problem with the injection or fuel pump, setting off the check engine light.
2. How long does it take for the check engine light to reset?
Check engine light can reset on its own after a few ignition cycles or after driving around for up to 50 miles after you have filled your tank. However, sometimes it doesn’t reset on its own, and you may need to reset it on your own or have it reset by your dealership or mechanic.
3. Why does my check engine light come on after fueling my car?
Your check engine coming on after filling your car could be due to a loose gas cap. Try tightening the cap and see if the CEL clears on its own.
It is common for the check engine light to come after if you’re running out of gas. This is usually caused by your vehicle computer detecting fuel pressure fluctuation and interpreting it as a defective injection or fuel pump. The above guide has discussed everything you need to know about the CEL showing up after low fuel and how to fix it.
However, the ultimate tip to avoiding the check engine issue is to ensure you never run out of gas. Fill up your tank before the estimated arrival time when planning for long trips to avoid the CEL headache.