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Don’t Ever Run An RV Out Of Diesel Fuel – Or Else!

If your RV road trips are powered by diesel, here’s a good reason to never let your tank run out of diesel fuel: allowing an RV diesel tank to go bone dry can create more expensive, long-term hassles then just trying to find a filling station.

Don’t let an RV run out of diesel fuel. Ever.

run RV out of diesel
Rene Agredano

When you drive a gas-powered vehicle most of your life, it’s easy to get into the habit of waiting until the last minute to find a gas pump. After all, if you’ve ever run out of gas you know that it’s relatively easy to take a 1 gallon can to a gas station and get back on the road in no time.

Unfortunately diesel-powered vehicles don’t have that kind of leeway when it comes to running out of fuel. If a diesel-powered RV, truck or other vehicle starts to run out of fuel, bad things happen:

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What Happens When Cars, Trucks and RVs Run Low on Diesel Fuel

  • Drop below ¼ tank of diesel and the engine will start pulling fuel from the bottom of your tank. As it does, the rust, dirt and debris that sat there for years start to go through the engine.
  • Once that contaminated fuel hits the fuel injectors, watch out! The injectors can get sticky and clogged.
  • Replacing fuel injectors isn’t cheap. For a Dodge pickup, you’re looking at about $5,000 to have a mechanic replace your fuel injectors.

What Happens When Cars, Trucks or a RV Run Out of Diesel Fuel

You don’t want to run a RV out of diesel fuel. Ever. Here’s why.

No fuel? Call a tow truck.

run RV out of diesel
Rene Agredano

When you let an RV run out of diesel fuel, your tank becomes “air bound.” What this means is when you try to restart your engine, your fuel pump begins sucking up nothing but air. That air is going to fill up your entire system, making it difficult – if not impossible – to restart your engine.

“We see it all the time at repair shops, having to bleed the system – removing filters, pressure blowing the fuel lines and repriming the engine with fresh diesel,” say the experts at InjectorsDirect.

If you’ve just run out of diesel fuel and your truck won’t start, get ready to call a tow truck. You’re in for a long, expensive stay wherever you ran out.

How to Not Run an RV Out of Diesel Fuel

  • Don’t be lazy. Find a diesel pump when your tank hits ¼ tank. Drop any lower and you may be at the point of no return.
  • Don’t be cheap. If your fuel light goes on and you must get fuel, don’t drive around looking for bargains. Find the first diesel pump. If you’re paying a few pennies per gallon more, look at it as paying a Stupid Tax for letting your tank get too low.
  • Don’t drive fast to get to the station when your tank is low. Keep to the speed limit if your tank is low and don’t rush to get to the station. This is the time to drive as fuel-efficiently as possible.

Diesel-powered RVs are more expensive and need a little more TLC than a gas-powered RV, but if you have heavy hauling to do and appreciate great fuel economy, these extra steps make owning a diesel-powered RV worthwhile.

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