Driving on a light bulb: can it burn out the gas pump

Every motorist knows that if the red indicator on the dashboard lights up, there is not much fuel left and the distance will be just a little – just to pull up to a gas station! A passenger car can drive another 50-80 km, depending on the model. Some SUVs can drive up to 200 km on the highway. As a rule, this is enough to get to a gas station. However, today the question is different: whether or not driving on a light bulb can really burn out a gas pump?

In modern cars, the gas pump is installed on the bottom of the tank. The neck is placed in a special pit. This is done in order to take the last remnants of fuel. On the pump body there is a special plastic anti-drainage cup, which contains a fuel level sensor and the “cartridge” of the gasoline pump itself. The cup is designed to protect the intake from dehydration when starting and maneuvering the vehicle. In other words, even the cheapest modern petrol pump is quite a tricky, well thought out system.

Can it burn out by driving on a light bulb? Actually, it’s highly unlikely. Even the budget gasoline pumps with current consumption of 5 amps should work “dry” for a few minutes to start heating up. The first 2-3 minutes the pump will just be warm. It will take even longer for the unit to burn out. During normal vehicle operation, the gasoline pump is constantly being cooled by fuel.

Contrary to popular belief, this happens not due to the fuel still in the tank, but due to the fuel which the pump passes through it, and also due to the excess of fuel which the pump pours back into the tank for a second round. Thus a closed safe system is obtained: the pump works while the engine works, the engine works while the fuel comes in, while the fuel comes in – the pump is cooled. As soon as the fuel stops flowing, the engine will stall and the pump will stop working, depriving it of even a tiny chance of overheating.

If anything can harm the gas pump, it is debris gradually accumulating in the tank. Which is more likely to get into the pump when the fuel level in the tank is low. In addition, like any other mechanism, the gasoline pump will gradually wear out during operation. First of all, the collector, brushes and impeller lose their service life. To summarize: it is almost impossible to overheat a gasoline pump by driving on a light bulb. But in general, regular light bulb driving doesn’t make your car any healthier.

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