Nobody likes to run out of fuel, so we usually get to the gas station before the tank runs dry. But what the manufacturers don’t bother to tell us, is that running on empty is not good for the fuel pump.
Whether you drive a Volvo, Audi, Lexus or a popular Volkswagen, they all have fuel pumps. And a fuel pump, like most mechanical devices, needs to be cooled.
Cooling of a fuel pump is accomplished by flow of the fuel through the pump, but also by the fuel pump being immersed in the gasoline in your tank. So as the tank gets progressively emptier, that second method of cooling – immersion in the gasoline - becomes less and less effective.
While running on fumes is not going to destroy your fuel pump (in most cases), it may cause it to work at a higher than optimal temperature. Over time, it will cause faster wear and eventually, require premature fuel pump replacement.
BTW: running out of gas is not only a hassle, but really bad for the fuel pump. So keep your tank at least ¼ full – you will save yourself and your fuel pump from unnecessary stress.