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How Far Can a Subaru Outback Go with the Gas Light On?

How Far Can a Subaru Outback Go with the Gas Light On?

We all have experienced a situation when a low fuel warning light triggers during a trip. However, you can still cover some miles before going to stall owing to some leftover gasoline in the fuel tank of your Subaru Outback. The exact distance and fuel amount can vary according to model year and several other factors.

How Far Can a Subaru Outback Go with the Gas Light On? Subaru Outback can go up to 50-80 miles with the gas light On. It is 50-60 miles for 1995-1998 models, 50-70 miles for 2000-2004 models, and 50-65 miles for 2005-2008 models. Moreover, 2009-2015 can cover 50-75, and 2016-2022 models can cover 60-80 miles.

We will cover various aspects like symptoms of a vehicle running out of gas, how to stop it safely, and measures to increase the number of miles.

Reserve fuel capacity of Subaru Outback SUV

There are 6 generations of the Subaru Outback available in the market from 1995-2022. There is some reserve fuel left in the tank when a low fuel warning appears before you while driving.

Its exact capacity varies from each SUV according to its model year. Here we have presented the remaining gas in the tank for different model years according to data collected from several drivers.

You can check the owner’s manual for your SUV to get exact figures. It has a reserve capacity of 2.7-3.2 gallons for the 1995-1998 model years.

Leftover gasoline in the tank is 2.5-4.0 gallons for the 2000-2004 model years when the low gas light comes on. For 2005-2008 models, drivers have experienced a remaining fuel of 2.5-3.0 gallons.

Moreover, for 2009-2015 models, reserve fuel in the SUV is 2.0-2.7 gallons. According to the owner manual, it is 2.6 gallons for 2016-2022 models when the low fuel warning light glows.

Distance traveled by Subaru outback with low gas light ON

Subaru Outback has a good fuel economy of 21-33 miles per gallon (mpg), varying under city and highway driving conditions and for different model years.

Therefore, when the low fuel warning appears, it can cover a longer distance on the leftover gasoline. However, actual distance depends on several factors.

Distance to empty for the 1995-1998 model is 50-60 miles, while 50-70 miles for the 2000-2004 model years. Moreover, you can cover 50-65 miles for the 2005-2008 model years.

You can go as far as 50-75 miles for the 2009-2015 model of the SUV. However, due to the improved EPA rating, the range is 60-80 miles for the 2016-2022 model years.

You can expect variation in these ranges depending on the factors like driving conditions, number of passengers, and engine condition.

Therefore, you should look for the nearest gas station as soon as a low fuel warning appears to avoid any inconvenience. 

Does distance to empty gauge give an accurate reading?

The latest models of Subaru Outback have a Distance to Empty (DTE) indicator on the dashboard, which tells the distance you can cover on the remaining fuel.

It calculates the reading based on the average mileage you have achieved during your journey. Therefore, it is not reflective of your current driving situation.

For example, if you have driven on a highway for most of your trip but got stuck in a crowded place or a city area, the gauge will display a higher DTE value based on your average mileage.

Moreover, it also depends on other factors like engine condition, driving habits, driving history for a previous couple of miles, and whether the terrain is a smooth surface or an uphill climb.

Therefore, instead of blindly following the DTE reading, you should assess the situation based on the present scenario and refill the tank before the engine stalls due to no gas.

Methods to increase the distance to empty (DTE) with low gas light ON

You can increase the DTE for your Subaru Outback by adopting a few precautionary measures, specifically when there is no nearby gas station.

There is an optimum mid-range speed of 40-60 mph, where vehicles have maximum fuel efficiency. Therefore, reduce the speed in this range to cover more distance.

Stop the accessories like air conditioning, stereo system, or inside lights to reduce the engine’s load and fuel consumption.

Another important measure is to use GPS to find the route with the minimum traffic, as frequent braking or driving in crowded places significantly reduces fuel economy.

Therefore, it is imperative to keep calm and wisely develop a strategy to reach the nearby gas station without stalling the engine due to no fuel. 

Symptoms of Subaru Outback running out of gas

Subaru Outback will show a few symptoms before its engine completely stops due to no fuel.

Therefore, you should safely take your vehicle to the side of the highway and make arrangements for refueling to prevent accidents.

The engine will sputter when it does not get sufficient gas supply according to the throttle. Moreover, you will observe power surges in the form of jerky movement of the SUV.

The engine will sometimes backfire or misfire, causing damage and reducing its available power.

In case of loss of power, the hydraulic system of the steering wheel and brakes will also not work efficiently, and you have to make efforts to stop and maneuver the vehicle out of the traffic safely.

What to do if the Subaru outback engine suddenly stops due to no gas?

With a low fuel warning light, you have plenty of time and mileage to refill the tank before the engine stops due to no fuel.

However, if you observe any symptoms of running out of gas, as mentioned earlier, the first and foremost step is to stop the vehicle immediately on the roadside.

It is imperative for your safety and other traffic on the road. It will also protect the engine from any severe damage.

The next step is to look for gas stations in the vicinity and make arrangements for refills. In a remote area or strange place, you can call roadside assistance.

If the vehicle does not start after putting in gasoline, then call the mechanic or get it towed to a workshop to rectify the problem.

Method to reset the low gas indicator on the Subaru Outback

One of the simplest methods to reset the low gas warning light on the dashboard is to refill the tank up to a specified level, and it will go OFF.

There is some hysteresis logic programmed into PCM to turn OFF the light at a fuel quantity of 3.7 gallons.

Therefore, you should keep in mind to put in sufficient gasoline; otherwise, the light will not go out.

If the warning persists despite filling the tank, you have to check the fuel level sensor or use the OBD tool to read any underlying Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC).

Subaru Outback 2018 Model Low Fuel Indicator Problem

Subaru has issued a recall for 2018 models of the Outback because of a problem associated with its fuel gauge and Distance to Empty (DTE) indicator.

It results in the vehicle running out of gas without any low fuel warning and sudden stoppage of the engine without any indication to the driver.

As a part of the recall, owners of the 2018 model Subaru Outback can visit the dealers to get a software update to resolve the issue. Otherwise, you should keep sufficient fuel and a few extra gallons during every trip.

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