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  1. #1
    Senior Member Two Rings
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    How far can we drive on empty?

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    This is a fun question. Maybe someone here actually found out (for fun or the hard way). Once the gas warning comes on, how many miles have you driven? Might be useful if anyone ever finds themself in a situation where they are struggling to make it to the next gas station on a long drive.

  2. #2
    Established Member Two Rings AlaskanAudi's Avatar
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    I read somewhere that VAG cars have a “reserve tank” of 2 gallons. Which is to say that the tank actually has 2 gallons past the “empty” mark. Hope this helps


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  3. #3
    Veteran Member Four Rings MacFady's Avatar
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    330i ZHP
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    Seems to me there are quite a few factors that are going to wildly swing this one way or the other.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Toronto

    I've done at least 40 miles like 10 times..not quite sure what the actual KMs but it's definitely quite a bit.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Three Rings TEB's Avatar
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    Sep 19 2010
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    '70 Cutlass, MDX, Pilot
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    Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

    I went about 10 miles past 0 a couple weeks ago. Still had ~1.7 gallons in the tank when I filled up.
    2011 S4 6MT Ibis White|Panda Nappa|Titanium|Carbon|NAV|Sport Diff|B&O|Unitronic|Team Dynamics|Nitto|G-Force|Simpson
    (Gone)2004 S4 6MT Silver|Black|Carbon|Bilstein|Hawk|Magnaflow|ECS
    (Gone)1998 A4 5MT Black|Black|Bilstein|A8/S4 Brakes|APR Exhaust|AWE DTS|Intrax Extreme|Flik|GIAC|Etc

  6. #6
    Senior Member Three Rings TEB's Avatar
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    '70 Cutlass, MDX, Pilot
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    Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanAudi View Post
    I read somewhere that VAG cars have a “reserve tank” of 2 gallons
    According to the Owners Manual, there's 2.1 gallons of reserve left after the light comes on.
    2011 S4 6MT Ibis White|Panda Nappa|Titanium|Carbon|NAV|Sport Diff|B&O|Unitronic|Team Dynamics|Nitto|G-Force|Simpson
    (Gone)2004 S4 6MT Silver|Black|Carbon|Bilstein|Hawk|Magnaflow|ECS
    (Gone)1998 A4 5MT Black|Black|Bilstein|A8/S4 Brakes|APR Exhaust|AWE DTS|Intrax Extreme|Flik|GIAC|Etc

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Four Rings Dannydyn's Avatar
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    Dec 20 2013
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    Mercedes Benz ML350
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    Stamford, CT

    I drove 3 days past the refill light came on, and a day and half past the 0 miles left. Car eventually died.
    2014 S4 | 6MT | Estoril Blue | Lunar Alcantara | Rotors
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  8. #8
    Veteran Member Four Rings Dr GP's Avatar
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    Lexus RX 350
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    SE, PA

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannydyn View Post
    I drove 3 days past the refill light came on, and a day and half past the 0 miles left. Car eventually died.
    You can drive for a month straight if you only drive a mile or less a day. The question is how far, not how long. And it would depend on how fast you are going and type of traffic. RIP on the death of your car

  9. #9
    Senior Member Three Rings Corradobrit's Avatar
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    Oct 27 2007
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    TX

    I routinely drive 20 miles past zero leaving at least a gallon in the tank on fill up.
    2014 S4 Premium Plus, Glacier White Metallic, Black Optics, DSG, sport diff, Nappa, B&O, AWE Touring/Res DP, GIAC ECU/TCU Stage 1, ECS CF rear diffuser, CR15

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Four Rings Dannydyn's Avatar
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    Mercedes Benz ML350
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    Stamford, CT

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr GP View Post
    You can drive for a month straight if you only drive a mile or less a day. The question is how far, not how long. And it would depend on how fast you are going and type of traffic. RIP on the death of your car
    I want to say I racked about 50-60 miles past the light coming on.
    2014 S4 | 6MT | Estoril Blue | Lunar Alcantara | Rotors
    Chipwerke Pro Stage 1| AWE S-Flo | Bilstein B8 | H&R OE Sport | Avant Garde M580 | ECS Spacers | Eurocode Sway Bars & Links | StopTech | RS4 Grille | Summit Racing Exhaust Tips | 35% Tint

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings blackfunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannydyn View Post
    I want to say I racked about 50-60 miles past the light coming on.
    I did about 20 miles of fairly aggressive city driving before mine also died. Not a fun time. LOL
    Life has taught me never try to make something idiot proof, they'll simply come up with a better idiot.

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Four Rings Johnnycash's Avatar
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    Jul 31 2014
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    2015 Hyundai Genesis. 1995 impala ss
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannydyn View Post
    I drove 3 days past the refill light came on, and a day and half past the 0 miles left. Car eventually died.
    wow. this is some profound stuff. Were you surprised or caught off guard when this happened? ;)
    2011 QGM w/black optics, EPL stg1, HRE p43sc w/pss, b-12pro-kit, 034 trans mount, cts intake, stoptech drilled/slotted, akebonos all around, vmr 710 w/nokian r2s, stock rotor wheels w michelin as3+, autostyle custom floormats, 3m paint protection on entire front.

  13. #13
    Veteran Member Three Rings audinutt's Avatar
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    2001 A8l 2001 A4TQM Avant
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    texas

    I'm surprised at the amount of people that don't keep their tank above a quarter tank who in this day and age actually runs the gas down to E I thought that was reserved for high school kids

    Sent from my SM-G935U using Tapatalk
    98.5 A4 1.8T

  14. #14
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by audinutt View Post
    I'm surprised at the amount of people that don't keep their tank above a quarter tank who in this day and age actually runs the gas down to E I thought that was reserved for high school kids

    Sent from my SM-G935U using Tapatalk
    Laziness, mostly.

  15. #15
    Veteran Member Four Rings jygesq's Avatar
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    1986 Honda CH 150 D scooter bought new
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    letting tank go low,is not a good idea. crud that might settle in the tank might now get in the system.
    2015 S4, P+, Florett Silver,black /silver nappa leather, S-tronic ,sport diff,B&O ,tech package ,supercharged badges. All season tires ,cargo net, factory dip stick

  16. #16
    Senior Member Three Rings Corradobrit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audinutt View Post
    I'm surprised at the amount of people that don't keep their tank above a quarter tank who in this day and age actually runs the gas down to E I thought that was reserved for high school kids

    Sent from my SM-G935U using Tapatalk
    Got better things to do than visit the gas station every few days.
    2014 S4 Premium Plus, Glacier White Metallic, Black Optics, DSG, sport diff, Nappa, B&O, AWE Touring/Res DP, GIAC ECU/TCU Stage 1, ECS CF rear diffuser, CR15

  17. #17
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by jygesq View Post
    letting tank go low,is not a good idea. crud that might settle in the tank might now get in the system.
    Not really an issue on modern cars.

  18. #18
    Veteran Member Three Rings audinutt's Avatar
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    2001 A8l 2001 A4TQM Avant
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    texas

    If you're filling up your tank and running through every few days you are using a considerable amount of fuel. The sediment isn't the issue as much as your electronic fuel pump in the tank takes a beating when you're that low on fuel it has nothing left to cool it

    Sent from my SM-G935U using Tapatalk
    98.5 A4 1.8T

  19. #19
    Veteran Member Four Rings Dannydyn's Avatar
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    Mercedes Benz ML350
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnycash View Post
    wow. this is some profound stuff. Were you surprised or caught off guard when this happened? ;)
    I was actually on the way downtown, and was like ahhhh.... you've got to be fcking kidding me.... 4am, missed my workout.... LOL... on the bright side, there was a gas station a mile away, so I jogged over, got a can of gas, and jogged back to the car. PITA. I usually don't let it go below 1/4 though.
    2014 S4 | 6MT | Estoril Blue | Lunar Alcantara | Rotors
    Chipwerke Pro Stage 1| AWE S-Flo | Bilstein B8 | H&R OE Sport | Avant Garde M580 | ECS Spacers | Eurocode Sway Bars & Links | StopTech | RS4 Grille | Summit Racing Exhaust Tips | 35% Tint

  20. #20
    Veteran Member Four Rings
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    2007 Audi A4 3.2 Quattro; 2010 Acura RDX (my wife's vehicle)
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEB View Post
    According to the Owners Manual, there's 2.1 gallons of reserve left after the light comes on.
    There you have it. I fill up every Tues. (lowest gas prices on avg.) unless I need to before, which is rare.
    2014 Monsoon Gray S4 Prem+ | S-Tronic | LH Magma Nappa leather interior | Carbon Atlas inlays | Sports Diff | Adaptive Damping suspension | 19” peelers | MMI Nav | Bang & Olufsen | tints | VAG COM mods via OBDeleven | Autostyle Mats

  21. #21
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEB View Post
    According to the Owners Manual, there's 2.1 gallons of reserve left after the light comes on.
    I don't buy that. My guess is it's at least 3 gallons, based on how much I have left when I fill up. I've gone plenty far after the light has come on, and never put more than 13.5 gallons in at refill. Being a 16.1 gallon tank, that means I had ~2.5 gallons left, and that's after driving 20-30 miles, or more. You have to really try to run it out of gas.....

  22. #22
    Senior Member Three Rings mattro's Avatar
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    Nov 28 2007
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    Moncton, NB, Canada

    relevant video from Hamish & Andy with an SQ5
    looks like we can drive a lot more than most people think

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpU72eM8vCo


    edit: after looking at the video again it's an SQ5 but with a TDI engine. I didn't realize they made those.
    S4
    This | is | where | people | usually | list | their | mods | separated | by | these | vertical | lines

  23. #23
    Veteran Member Three Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by jygesq View Post
    letting tank go low,is not a good idea. crud that might settle in the tank might now get in the system.
    And more than that, the in-tank fuel pump is cooled by the fuel in the tank.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Three Rings Corradobrit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hilmar2k View Post
    I don't buy that. My guess is it's at least 3 gallons, based on how much I have left when I fill up. I've gone plenty far after the light has come on, and never put more than 13.5 gallons in at refill. Being a 16.1 gallon tank, that means I had ~2.5 gallons left, and that's after driving 20-30 miles, or more. You have to really try to run it out of gas.....
    I don't buy it either. Light comes on with 45 miles remaining range indicated. I drive another 65 miles once light appears. Takes less than 14.75 gallons to fill up.
    2014 S4 Premium Plus, Glacier White Metallic, Black Optics, DSG, sport diff, Nappa, B&O, AWE Touring/Res DP, GIAC ECU/TCU Stage 1, ECS CF rear diffuser, CR15

  25. #25
    Stage 3 Forum Advertiser Four Rings ECS Tuning-Audi's Avatar
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    Oct 02 2006
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    Wadsworth,OH

    Wow some of yall like to live dangerously. I'm in a habit of filling up close to the 1/4 tank mark lol

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  26. #26
    Senior Member Three Rings ElectroMike's Avatar
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    2014 S4 M/T
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    Exit 160 NJ

    Quote Originally Posted by ECS Tuning-Audi View Post
    Wow some of yall like to live dangerously.
    That's why we are in the S4 platform!
    2014 S4 - Glacier White Metallic | 6MT | Rear Sports Differential

  27. #27
    Established Member Two Rings
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    30 Miles if you baby it. 20 miles in Dynamic.

  28. #28
    Senior Member Three Rings ElectroMike's Avatar
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    2014 S4 M/T
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    Exit 160 NJ

    Quote Originally Posted by hilmar2k View Post
    I don't buy that. I've gone plenty far after the light has come on, and never put more than 13.5 gallons in at refill. Being a 16.1 gallon tank, that means I had ~2.5 gallons left, and that's after driving 20-30 miles, or more..
    Agreed. I juggle four cars and a bike in my household, so I always forget that we have a 16.1gal tank capacity, at times I get it down to the 30 mile mark with the fuel light lit, fill up and get 13.5 to 14gal then scratch my head questioning my memory if this is a 14.5g, 16.1g, or the other choices!

    I reset my trip meter at every fill up and for the most part with my weekly routine I fill up based on how many miles I went, as I do not rely on the fuel gauge 100%.
    2014 S4 - Glacier White Metallic | 6MT | Rear Sports Differential

  29. #29
    Veteran Member Three Rings achilleas101's Avatar
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    2015AcuraRDX
    Location
    Falls Church, VA

    People seem to be answering 2 different questions. How far do you go after the warning to refuel comes up (which comes with 30-40 miles left in the expected range) or after it tells you you have 0 miles left?

    I usually fill up close to 0 and put in around 14 gallons. I've gone as much as 15 miles after hitting 0. I don't remember how many gallons i filled up, but i do remember it was less than i expected.

    In my 2003 A4 3.0 i went 23 miles after 0 hit once. And when i filled up i remember it was about .2 gallons less than the tank capacity. I couldnt find a gas station for like 10 miles, i was starting to panic.
    2013 S4 Imola Yellow | Black leather/Silver Alcantara | 6MT | B&O | Sport Diff | Silver 19x8.5 Avant Garde m550 | XPel Ultimate full hood/fenders | Eurocode SS

    Gone but not forgotten: 2003 A4 3.0 6MT; 1998 Acura Integra GSR 5spd
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  30. #30
    Veteran Member Four Rings GeoJoe's Avatar
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    2012 Audi S4, 2017 Audi Q7, 2016 Porsche GT4, 1973 Datsun 240z
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  31. #31
    Veteran Member Four Rings MacFady's Avatar
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    330i ZHP
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    Prince Edward Island

    Quote Originally Posted by Corradobrit View Post
    I routinely drive 20 miles past zero leaving at least a gallon in the tank on fill up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Corradobrit View Post
    Got better things to do than visit the gas station every few days.
    Like replacing your fuel pump.

  32. #32
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacFady View Post
    Like replacing your fuel pump.
    You have to empty the tank completely for the fuel pump to suffer. The shape of the bottom of the tank keeps the fuel tank submerged enough to cool it until there's literally no gas left. I drove the car to an indicated 5 miles to empty yesterday, and still had 2 gallons left in the tank. I seriously doubt anyone here is putting their fuel pump in jeopardy....

  33. #33
    Veteran Member Four Rings MacFady's Avatar
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    330i ZHP
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    Quote Originally Posted by hilmar2k View Post
    You have to empty the tank completely for the fuel pump to suffer.....
    That all could be very true, I'm simply stating that instead of making it my "routine" to drive 20miles past zero, I choose to make it my routine not to do that and not guess whether my fuel pump is taking a hit on every tank of gas.

  34. #34
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacFady View Post
    That all could be very true, I'm simply stating that instead of making it my "routine" to drive 20miles past zero, I choose to make it my routine not to do that and not guess whether my fuel pump is taking a hit on every tank of gas.
    Fair enough.

  35. #35
    Veteran Member Four Rings Crucible35's Avatar
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    Apr 22 2010
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    13 Lawnmower Prem. Quattro
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario. Canada

    I've never worried about any of this.....in my experience there is no ill effect to the fuel pump or risk of sediment in the system if you run down close to empty. I fill up every four days and have never hit the gas station without the tank being close to empty. After 400,000 kms on two A4s never had a problem.
    '15 A4 S Line Q Tip Monsoon
    '09 A4 Premium Q Tip Meteor (Gone)

  36. #36
    Veteran Member Four Rings sacandagaD's Avatar
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    2015 S4 P+, 2005 Honda Element,2018 Porsche Macan GTS
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    Saratoga Springs, NY

    Fuel light came on this morning, and computer said 40 miles, took 13.5 gallons when I filled it back up.
    2015 P+, Sepang Blue, Black/Black Alcantara, Tech package, Sport Diff, DSG, Carbon inlays, B&O, Hard wired V1, CR-15, 3M film, 19" PSS/Hartmann Rotor reps, Akebonos, LED interior and reverse lights, ZxE fogs, CW Pro, Soundakator mute, RS Rep grille.

    Loved but traded: 2011 S4 P+, Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Black/Silver Alcantara

  37. #37
    Senior Member Three Rings Corradobrit's Avatar
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    Oct 27 2007
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    TX

    Quote Originally Posted by MacFady View Post
    Like replacing your fuel pump.
    Never had a problem in over 30 years driving VW/Audi's. Think I'm OK
    2014 S4 Premium Plus, Glacier White Metallic, Black Optics, DSG, sport diff, Nappa, B&O, AWE Touring/Res DP, GIAC ECU/TCU Stage 1, ECS CF rear diffuser, CR15



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