Standard answer around here is 3 gallons.
That's what mine indicated when my car (2001 Focus SE Wagon, built in
Wayne, MI) was new. As it got older, the amount remaining when the
light went on got less and less until it was about a cup. :)
Then I had the fuel pump replaced (thank you, Ford) and it's about 2
That will vary with vehicle and as has been said it can change.
Simply run to the light then fill up.
Then subtract the fill amount from your tank capacity, but I wouldn't
assume using the last gallon or so.
Occasionally in town I run to the warning light to check it.
You're right on the variance but it's more over time than car to
The 2002 Focus had a 13 gallon tank and the light was supposed to
come on at 3 gallons remaining. My previous 2002 held to that pretty
much until around 75K miles, then dropped to coming on at 2.5 gallons
remaining. Two other friends with different trim levels of the same
year Focus had similar experience.
Just got a 2006 a couple of weeks ago and was worried because the
light came on at 11 gallons used... I panicked til I checked and the
2006 has a 14 gallon tank.
It looks like it's still 3 gallons remaining on new Focus(es).
My light has just come on, 2004 1.8 Ghia petrol, I filled her up about
5 miles after the light came on and got 46 litres into her, I think she
has a 55 litre tank so that is a reserve of about 9 L about 2 gallons
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