Ok, I need to know the real deal...I ran out of gas

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Eco-chic, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. Eco-chic

    Eco-chic New Member

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    in my brand new 08 last night. We were able to put a gallon or so in roadside & it started back up & got us home. However all of those scray warning lights are on including one of the computer that looks like a car with a line going through it. Actually my DH was driving & he decided to try to make it to the exit ramp on battery, we didn't make it. I was in favor of shutting it off after we ran out of fuel. The cop that pulled over to see if we were ok got a chuckle, I'm so happy we could entertain him:p
    I've been searching the web trying to find out what my next move should be & I've read a couple of stories about running out of gas to the point that those warnings come on voids the warranty! Can this be true???
    I've also read driving it for 50 miles will reset it & the warnings lights will go out, is that a fact?
    I now know it was a problem with the bladder that caused me to run out, I've been assuming when it only takes 8 or so at the pump that I've got at least 2 gallons left. The pips are too deceiving so I've been trying to count on the computer & always reset the trip od.
    Should I tell toyota what happened? I'm scheduled for my first oil change in 3 days.
    Help a newbie out with any info & advice, please tell me I'm not going to have a problem with toyota!
     
  2. Genoz World

    Genoz World ZEN-style living

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    I clearly read on the manual......NEVER RUN OUT OF GAS.

    so i wouldn't tell the dealer about this, otherwise things could be voided out of warranty, not sure, but it can sure happen easily.

    why wait until it was so far down? just fill up at the 2nd to last pip. just dont take chances.

    let me know if the car has changed in any way after that.

    good luck
     
  3. NYPrius1

    NYPrius1 Active Member

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    I don't understand why so many people are running out of gas.
    Yes The Prius uses less gas............ But Not NO GAS.
    Just do what you always did, 1/4 tank left.........Start looking for a gas station.:confused:
     
  4. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    You can clear the warning lights by booting the system 3 times after filling up. Unfortuantely the computer stores the code that tells the service tech it was driven until it ran out of battery power after running out of petrol. If the batteries have been discharged below 40% which is no battery bars showing it can harm the battery, if the battery fails it isn't likely you will get warrantee on the battery if the tech brings up a "ran out of petrol, kept driving" code from the ECU.

    I still looking for anyone who ran out with 2 bars on the fuel gauge.
     
  5. Prius 07

    Prius 07 Member

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    Sorry to disagree but the bladder did not cause you to run out of fuel. The person driving did. Yes the bladder varies the usable fuel capacity of the Prius but timing of refueling should be based on what the gas gauge is telling you. The manual says fill-up when you're quarter full; lot of people here refill at two pips remaining and be even more urgent about it at one pip. When your last pip was flashing it was telling you refill now.
    Enjoy your new car; most likely you won't have any issues unless you completely drained your battery and I would not tell your dealer about it.
     
  6. limetime13

    limetime13 Junior Member

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    You won't need to "not tell" Toyota - they will see it in the computer.

    I was wondering what DH stood for as I was reading your post. I've seen it in other posts and thought to myself "darling husband", "dear husband"??? BUT when I read on that yours had the brilliant idea to continue to try to drive just on the battery, I realized that your DH was [I had it typed here and then decided to remove it - a bit unkind] :tape2:

    Hope your car is okay. Sorry.
     
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I would not recommend volunteering information about your out-of-fuel episode. If you would like to clear the stored fault codes, ask DH to disconnect the negative terminal of the 12V battery for a few minutes, then reconnect. It is probably easier to remove the negative cable where it is bolted to the body.

    Then he will probably need to reinitialize the driver's side power window auto feature and reenter the radio station presets. To reinitialize the power window, lower the window to halfway open. Then raise the window until it is shut, and continue to hold the button in the up position for a couple of seconds. Then the auto function should work.
     
  8. Eco-chic

    Eco-chic New Member

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    Don't take me too literaly, I know its always the driver's fault, but i've had the car less than two months & its my first with a bladder not a tank. I drove a 2000 dodge neon from the day it was new until I got the prius & believe when I tell you the gas gauge was MUCH more accurate, I got EXACTLY 311 miles out of an 11 gallon tank for 8 years. I have not been able to get the same number of miles out of a "full" tank of gas in the prius yet. For a newbie like me that takes a little getting used too, I know I'm not alone.


    Thanks to everyone for the tips & advice, does anyone know for sure if all of the warning lights will go off without toyota resetting them?
    I'm going to try filling it up & taking it for a ride now.
    Thanks again:peace:
     
  9. Eco-chic

    Eco-chic New Member

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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~UPDATE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Just put another gallon in, started her up to go to the gas station & ALL OF MY WARNING LIGHTS ARE OFF!!!!!!THANK GOD!;)
    Filled her up & everything seems fine! My battery charged right up to green & low & behold my lovely bladder(that I didn't even know I had until I found this forum in a panic last night) only allowed 8 gallons even though we KNOW it could have easily taken 10.5 or more to fill it.


    I'm going to leave well enough alone with the computer & hope for the best.
    Damn I love this car, I didn't slep a wink last night thinking my darling hubby ruined my brand new car, but I now I'm sure its the beginning of a very long, happy car/driver relationship:D:D:D:D
     
  10. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    As I was reading through the thread, I was noticing that there were far more comments on running out of gas and and driver responsibility and not enough "answer the question."

    The Prius will only recognize when three gallons or more of gas are pumped into the tank. I don't know why; perhaps someone else can explain that to me, but that's the way it is. As you discovered, you can start the car and drive with only one gallon but the lights will not reset until you have put more than three into the tank.

    As for running out of gas. I've done it. I know several people here who have done it. Some intentionally testing the duration of the flashing pip and some accidentally. Forget about it. Life goes on.

    Enjoy your Prius, welcome to Priuschat. :welcome:
     
  11. SpartanScott

    SpartanScott Michigan Member

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    Ignore the fact that the owners manual says it's a 12 gallon tank. In the summer you can figure that the bladder will hold 10 gallons, and 8 gallons in the winter. Always use the gas gauge to time your fill-ups. I use one solid bar to tell me I've got 20-30 miles until it will be blinking which means trouble.

    How many miles do you have on the car for the first oil change? Be sure to tell the dealer to only put in 3.5 liters of oil, and when you get the car back check to make sure the oil level is between 1/4 to 1/2 on the dipstick. If they overfill, which is very common, your mileage will take a dive south.
     
  12. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Here's something else to learn about.

    Cold rubber expands less than warm rubber. A cold bladder will hold less than a warm bladder. Therefore, depending on the temperature last night, you might not have been able to put 10.5 gallons into it because it might be too cold to expand that much. For details, click the "Current Mileage" link in my signature; you will see the amount of fuel I pump every time averages 9.3 gallons. Not 10 and not 10.5.

    In the end, the bladder makes possible the trapping of fumes and reduction of emissions. But it's a new concept for humans and we have a hard time wrapping our heads around it. In the end, trust the car. When it says that it's full, it's full even if you've only pumped 9 gallons; when it says that it's time to get more gas, get more gas even if you've only driven 450 miles. Don't question it. You will be wrong.
     
  13. Eco-chic

    Eco-chic New Member

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    thanks for the very helpful replies & the info about the bladder, I think I'm starting to understand it better now. Sure would be nice if the manual described it instead of calling it an "11.9 gallon TANK"
    That sure changes things & I'm pretty lucky I haven't run out before because I was counting on that last PIP to have AT LEAST a gallon in reserve for me. Now I sure know better.
    I know my mileage is better overall, but its not quite as sexy to only get 100 miles more a tank than I was getting in my 8 year old neon. I'll get over it.

    So do you guys think I'm screwed with my warranty if toyota sees the error message? Anybody have any first hand experience with that?

    Mine is red just like yours spartan!!!
     
  14. wesj49

    wesj49 Junior Member

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    I've owned an 04 and an 07. They both acted a little differently as to gas filling and I have come to disregard the 11.9 capacity and think of the tank as 10 gal like most small cars. The advice given about cold weather and the bladder is right on. Another problem not mentioned too much here is the vapor recovery system role in this issue. In California where all the gas station nozzles are new it is a real pain to fill up a Prius. In Arizona and New Mexico where everything is loose and older I have had no problem putting in the expected amounts at fill up time. I would advise you however to fill up on the single remaining solid block. The blinking block can be unpredictable depending on how much the tank had been filled.

    I have run out of fuel perhaps three times. All the lights come on and it scares the bejeebus out of you but it's really no big deal. Each time after filling up and restarting the lights have gone off. Don't let all the alarmists in this forum scare you. Bottom line the Prius is still just a car sold to the public, not rocket surgery.

    I mean think about it. If running out of fuel voided the warranty would Toyota be able to sell this car in the US? Give me a break. I never had any trouble getting the battery charged after running out of fuel. Never had any service people tell me about any codes or voided warranty and I had several warranty issues on the 04 which were fixed without any hassle or mention of any codes triggered by running out of fuel.
     
  15. statultra

    statultra uber-Senior Member

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    i dont understand why people think its ok to run out of gas, even if they put in a certain amount of gas.

    fill up the tank, when it gets to 2 bars FILL UP ASAP
    thats it.

    you better plan on spending money on a HV battery in 5 years if you keep running out of gas.
     
  16. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    I almost ran out of fuel in an airplane one time. You think running out in a Prius is bad... We all do stupid things, so don't take it too hard. It is unlikely that you did any lasting harm, but you should have learned three things from the experience:

    1) Trust the fuel gauge, not your calculations. When it says to get gas, get gas.

    2) Don't drive after you run out. You can use the electric to get off the road, but after that, stop. You wouldn't try to drive a car after the oil leaked out, or the coolant boiled over, so why try to drive your Prius without fuel.

    3) Despite #2 above, if you do run out of fuel, you need to add about 3 gallons of gas before all of those scary lights turn off. The Prius doesn't recognize adding small amounts of fuel.

    Tom
     
  17. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    This is why it's called the GUESS GAUGE. What are you doing in that Prius that you aren't even getting 311 miles on 8-10 gallons? Poor fuel economy could be the result of underinflated tires. Pump them up to at least 42/40.

    I don't know anything about a Neon but automotive.com says the tank is 47 liters which is 12.42 gallons. If this is so you were able to run that tank very low. I find it hard to believe that Dodge's fuel gauge showed 1.5 gallons left when you had 311 miles on the tank.
     
  18. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    I think the reason alot of people have ran out of gas is that the owners manual says that the gas tank is 11.9 gallons. Therefore if you know you completely filled the tank thinking that there is at least 11 gallons in it. Well if I am averaging 50 MPG and the pip starts blinking at 500 miles the assumption is that that there is still another 50 + miles in that tank. Unfortunately this was the mistake of assumptions I made on my second tank when I ran out of gas at 525 miles. And when the car was new I knew nothing of the bladder. At the time when I refilled mine and it only took 9.5 gallons from empty, I assumed that the manual had a misprint about the size of the fuel tank.
     
  19. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    My Eagle Talon had a Chrysler engine in it that was very similar to the 2.0 inside the Neon and no matter how hard I drove that car it would nail 32 MPG and if I was a little easy on it I would land about 34, My tank on that car I believe was 16.9 gallons and my magic number to fill up was almost always 490 miles when the the fuel light would come on. Go to the pump to fill up and usually it would fill up at just under 15 gallons. I miss having that large for a little car gas tank.
     
  20. madler

    madler Member

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    Um, no. Not unless DH runs completely out of gas every week. NiMH batteries can take hundreds of deep discharges. The Prius keeps the state of charge between 40% and 80% because the hybrid system will go through whatever the allowed charge range is quite frequently, perhaps daily or more often.

    Running out of gas and going to near 0% charge even a hundred times will result in only a 2% to 3% degradation of the battery performance.

    On the other hand, I have heard on this forum that when you run out of gas, the gas pump continues to try to run dry. That sounds much worse to me than a little battery discharging. I wonder how long that pump can do that before it damages itself.

    Anyway, don't run out of gas. If you do, stop driving.
     
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