• Traffic jams and heavy rain cause motorists more concern than their fuel light coming on
  • Motorists risk damage to their car's engine or getting a potential fine by running out of fuel
  • Many motorists overestimate how much fuel they have left in their tank when their fuel light comes on

Nearly a million motorist admit they either completely ignore or don't even notice the fuel light comes on. What they seem to be more concerned with being caught in traffic, heavy rain or even getting lost on their journeys.

A lot of motorists have picked up some very bad habits including driving past petrol stations hoping to find a cheaper deal elsewhere and some only filling up a fiver's worth at a time.

Driving with the light on nearly all of the time, and hoping a family member picks up the bill when they drive the car are also high on the list.

Putting the wrong fuel in the car
The other common mistake is misfuelling, like putting diesel in an un-leaded car or the other way around. But don't panic! Many comprehensive car insurance policies will cover you by flushing the tank and covering any engine damage too caused by the wrong fuel.
When you realise what's happened you should contact your insurer straight away to find out what to do and how to arrange the repair.

What's the cost?

It might seem like a good idea at the time, you see the light come on, and you think to yourself you'll get a few more miles out of the tank and fill up a bit when you can. A lot of people don't though and keep trying to squeeze out those last few miles.

Apart from the obvious hassle to you and other road users in the event of a breakdown, you can also be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) in some locations, especially if you didn't fill up when you had the chance.

And, depending on the make and model of your car, it might not start easily once you get more fuel in it. Some cars like the Volvo V40 Cross Country have a few steps to follow to get running again, but other cars may not be so easy to fix and diesel engines may need bleeding and priming.


ICM Unlimited conducted omnibus research on behalf of LV= Road Rescue among a representative sample of 2,009 Britons, of whom more than 1,500 drove regularly. This research was conducted between 7 and 9 August 2015.

  1. Source: ICM. 536,000 ignore it and 267,000 don't tend to notice.
  2. Source: ICM. 7% of motorists who have purposefully driven past a fuelling station when they've needed to top up.
  3. Source: https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-maintenance-safety-security