Reasons Why Keeping Your Gas Tank Full Might Be a Good Idea

By Product Expert | Posted in Tips and Tricks on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 at 8:53 pm
Should You Keep Your Gas Tank Half Full in Winter?

There are differing opinions out there about whether or not you should keep your fuel tank at least half full in the winter. We suggest doing so all the time.

Should You Keep Your Gas Tank Half Full in Winter?

Those who drive in extreme cold weather conditions, such as winters in the northern part of the US, have likely heard it said that you should never let your fuel tank run down near empty when it’s particularly cold out. Some say the tank should be at least half full, while others say 1/4 full. It just depends on the individual. But is this truly fact or is it a myth? Should you keep your gas tank half full in winter?

There is more than one reason why some drivers may recommend keeping your fuel tank well above the point of empty, but when it comes to winter driving, the main reason we hear is to prevent condensation build up in the fuel lines. Is there any truth to this?

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car stuck in the snowWhy should you keep your gas tank full in winter?

Despite the fact many drivers seem to ignore this rule without consequence, there may be a reason to take some extra precautions with your fuel tank level in cold weather. One idea is that condensation can build up in the tank, causing the fuel lines to freeze when the temperature gets cold enough. This is something many report to be more of an issue from the past than the present day, but taking precautions won’t hurt.

Another problem, however, deals with keeping the fuel pump cool. When you run low on gas, it makes it possible for the fuel pump to start sucking in air. This can heat it up to the point where it could lead to expensive future repairs.

[Read more: Tips for safely steering out of a skid]

That’s our brief explanation in a nutshell. So, do you really need to keep your gas tank full when it’s cold outside? Well, it really depends on who you ask, but we recommend doing so for more than the reasons mentioned above:

  1. Keeping your gas tank half full at all times during the winter will allow you to keep it running for warmth should you become stranded in a deserted area. 
  2. Dirt trapped in the fuel tank can get into the fuel filter. 
  3. Having plenty of fuel will assist you should you hit a traffic jam or highway traffic completely stops. 

Use these tips to keep your car from freezing

car help in the snow

But our number one reason for keeping your tank above empty is because Mazda recommends it according to the owner’s manual. Mazda recommends keeping the tank at least 1/4 full, and should you keep your gas tank up to half full in winter instead, that may be even better.

[Read more: View our black ice driving guide to stay safe this winter]

So the real answer to the question is that it’s a smart idea to keep a more-than-adequate fuel level in all weather conditions, not just winter. But be sure to check your owner’s manual to see the recommendations for your specific model, because no matter what opinions you hear, the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations should be the bottom line.

3 Responses to “Reasons Why Keeping Your Gas Tank Full Might Be a Good Idea”

  1. Another virtue of keeping a FULL tank before a winter storm… weight! Gas, like all liquid, is very heavy (approx 8 pounds per gallon). More vehicle weight means more traction (but also means longer stopping distances)

  2. Amado Brewer says:

    In Jack Frost, it is better to keep the gas tank full, at least half full. If your speed machine operates on diesel fuel, then it is highly crucial. Keeping less fuel in the gas tank can allow water to go inside and cause corrosion. Another safety reason is also there. Keeping the gas tank half full will keep the engine warm and avoid the possibility of getting stranded. From mechanical point of view, there is another benefit i.e a steady stream of fuel keeps the air pump cool. Servicing your vehicle at an authorized service center is important. But it is more important to take good care of the gas tank in order to stay safe on the road.

  3. Elisa Moore says:

    I do agree that a person should keep the fuel tank full during the winter months to avoid the deposition of ice crystal in the fuel tanks which could bring the vehicle to a halt in the middle of nowhere. The extreme cold temperature of the winter has a wide range of impacts on the performance of the vehicle. The battery and other components of the electrical system needs special attention during the winter months to work efficiently. For more assistance, visit

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