Fuel Tank Capacity: What You Need to Know

The fuel light usually turns on in order for your car to remind you to fill 'er up with gas. Although most motorists find it annoying and choose to ignore it for a few more miles, it's a worthwhile annoyance because you can never be too safe.

Other drivers might freak out and go to the gas station to get the gas as they're supposed to. Regardless, here's what you need to know about a typical automobile's fuel tank capacity to avoid engine damage or panic.

What Is a Car's Standard Fuel Tank Capacity?

  • Average Sizes of Fuel Tanks: The tank is the part of your car's engine system containing flammable fuel such as gasoline and oil. The average tank can carry between 45 to 65 liters of fuel. However, the average tank is in turn carried by the average car, which is a sedan. As for trucks and SUVs, they have much bigger tanks while for Nano cars or miniature vehicles, the tank size is also smaller in turn.
  • The Reserve Tank: You've probably heard the phrase, "reserve tank". This comes from the automobile industry and refers to vehicles that carry an extra tank that carries 15% of the capacity of the primary tank. However, reserve tanks are nowadays a thing of the past that has gone the way of the horse and carriage. Mostly vintage vehicles use these tanks for the sake of long-distance travel.
  • The Fuel Chamber Cap: The fuel chamber's cap actually has writing on it that explains the cap or limit of your fuel tank (hence the term "cap" that means "capacity" that's ironically placed on the "cap" or "lid'). For example, if it reads 60L it means the tank's capacity is to contain 60 liters of gasoline or petroleum.  About 1-2 liters of fuel are unusable because they're reserved for keeping the sediments of your fuel tank at the bottom.
  • Modern Cars and Fuel Tanks: Modern cars actually stop functioning when there's only 5 to 10 liters of gas left so it's impossible for you to totally empty your tank. What's more, the newer cars that actually have reserve tanks will indicate the quantity that includes the reserve tank. Also, the fuel light will notify you of your low level of gas even before you hit that 5-10 liter mark for obvious reasons.
  • Is It Possible to Fill Gas Tank Full or More Than the Rated Capacity? Yes. Also no. Here's the explanation. A 55-liter container obviously can't house 60 liters since it will overflow. Its capacity includes the reserve tank by the way. In order to normally activate, the tank capacity should be at a stable volume. However, the fuel neck or inlet pipe in some tanks can hold 10-15 liters. However, gas chambers are bigger not for extra fuel but to have room for air on top to prevent vapor lock.

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