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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am repeating this note, with minor modifications, which I sent to my colleagues in the Houston group, as suggested by a member of that group. Please excuse the length, but lawyers never use one word when three can be used. :)

I ran out of gas yesterday for the first time -- enroute MB North Houston from College Station, TX, for service for Munchkin's AC/heating blower intermittent failure. Worse -- I was on the tollway which encircles Houston.

There I sat on the left side with my red lights blinking. Little Munchkin was very embarrassed. Smarts are not supposed to run out of gas, particularly at a spot where cars and 18-wheelers are zooming by just a couple of feet away from you. :(

About half an hour later the tollway service truck pulled up behind me and give me (free!) one gallon of gas, and I went on my way to the nearest gas station, thence to MB North Houston, late for my appointment, yet they fit me in and I had them also do my 30,000 mile inspection/service while I was there.

I was treated with unique courtesy and service, and I certainly did not think the MB service was unreasonably expensive, contrary to what I hear here over and over. And the coffee and cheese Danish were delicious. :)
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I bother you with this sad tale just as a heads-up about my gas gauge. I was admittedly very foolish in permitting the fuel to get so low, of course. I figured that when it got down to the reserve tank I would have plenty of gas left to get to my destination -- after all, I was averaging better than 40 miles to the gallon at highway speeds.

However, within just a very few minutes after the reserve tank alarm started blinking and buzzing Munchkin started lurching, and luckily I was able to quickly pull over to the left out of the way of traffic before she died.
My Ultragauge indicated that I had 1.7 gal. of fuel in the tank at the time, which appeared to roughly validate the smart's blinking fuel gauge -- yet I ran out of gas.

Moral: beware of the accuracy of your fuel gauge at the low end.

When I filled up the gas tank after running about 5 miles on the free gallon of gas I had just received, the gas station pump said I got 8.3 gallons. Adding to that the one free gallon means that if I had gotten a fill-up where I ran out of gas I would have gotten about 9.3 gallons That means I had much less than advertised in the reserve tank when the alarm started blinking and sounded off.

Beware! You may regret counting on having much, if any, fuel left when your smart tells you that you have entered the reserve tank.

The good news:

Munchkin's 2-year MB warranty expired last September, and I purchased a 3d party 2-year extended warranty -- not inexpensive. I just crossed my fingers and hoped I had gotten a reliable company instead of a crook. I used the extended warranty for the first time on this trip, and it paid the $400 bill for labor and parts to replace the AC/heater
blower. :)

EDITED TO REMOVE AN EARLIER COMMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT THE MB ROADSIDE SERVICE WAS STILL FREE FOR THE SMART WHEN THE SMART'S WARRANTY HAS EXPIRED. I AM TOLD BY SEVERAL RELIABLE SOURCES THAT MY ADVICE WAS INCORRECT.

Jim
 

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FWIW, YMMV, etc. but I've driven mine down to the .2 gallon mark with the flashing fuel pump icon, no problem. Every car is slightly different, but mine still has gas at that point. Not willing to take it to 0.0 though....:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
HEADS UP!

I have been advised by a charming member of our Houston group that she was told by another service manager at the same dealership that retaining the roadside service after your warranty expires applies only to MBs, and not to smarts. I am not about to argue with her about this, as she is a roller derbier, as well as being awfully cute.

Please do not rely on what I said about this above. I will check on this with the smart service manager who told me this ASAP, and I will advise here.

EDIT: I HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO CONTACT MY SOURCE FOR THIS INFO, AND I HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY SEVERAL RELIABLE SOURCES THAT MY ADVICE HERE THAT THE FREE POST-WARRANTY ROADSIDE SERVICE APPLIES TO THE SMART IS INCORRECT. IN FACT I SUSPECT HE DID NOT USE THE WORD "FREE," AND SINCE THE POST-WARRANTY ROADSIDE SERVICE IS AVAILABLE TO THE SMART AT A CHARGE, THEN I WAS NOT MISLED. I MOST LIKELY JUST MADE ANOTHER INVALID ASSUMPTION. SORRY. :(

Cheers,

Jim
 

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I think she's right, but even the M-B owners may have to pay once the initial period runs out. Mercedes doesn't do freebies....:wink:

EDIT: well, maybe they do. From the MBCA forum:

What I didn't realize was that every Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. - no matter how old, how many miles it's logged or how many owners it's had - qualifies for Roadside Assistance, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are three services offered at no charge. Unlimited jump starts – Unlimited tire changes (when you have a viable spare) – Unlimited gas runs if you should run out.
 

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I have ran my smart down to 0 on a few occasions, still had gas enough to get to a station. Fillups then were I think 10.2 & 10.1 so mine is using everything in the tank :)
 

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A few months ago, I left home for work with one bar of fuel left. It started blinking part of the way to work, so I decided to stop for fuel. I pulled into a station and reached into my pocket...only to discover I left my wallet in my OTHER pants!

Crap. I could've gone home, been over an hour late for work, or trust that I can maintain at least an average of 45 MPG and make it to work and back. I chose the latter.

I pulled into work with the fuel gauge telling me there was a whole 0.4 gallons left. The UltraGauge was being nicer and said I had about a gallon left (I had level sensor mode set to "Enabled" instead of set to "Smart").

After a monotonous day of work, I hopped into the car and started it up. And after 30 seconds of running the secondary air pump the car decided to reward me by reducing the available fuel to 0.3 gallons. Double crap.

My work commute is about 27 miles one way but features few stops and mostly constant speed. At around seven miles in, the smart declared defeat and displayed 0.0 gal. Now I was entirely dependent on the 0.6 gallons or so that the fuel sender was giving the UltraGauge.

1 mile to go to my house and finally the UltraGauge called it quits for the day. At least if I gave out now, I could literally walk the car to my driveway.

But nope, somehow it went the full 20 miles past 0.0 gal and an additional mile to the petrol station.

That's something I won't let happen again. :eek:
 

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Keep in mind that the fuel pump uses the fuel in the thank as coolant... I wouldn't run the tank levels down below 1/4 that often... That little electric pump has to maintain 40+ PSI of fuel pressure to your injectors.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
From the "Roadside Assistance Brochure" in the little black folder which came with my new smart:

:megaphone:

"Roadside service is a 24/7/365 roadside assistance program provided with all new smart cars the first 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first[warranty period on my 2011]"

Jim
 

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Nearing 50k miles on my 2011, majority of fill ups happen when it is down to 1-2L flashing on the display, several tanks with under 0L remaining. The system is more robust then the worriers think.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It costs the same to drive with a full tank of gas.
And a lot less worries. At least that's what my wife told me.
After my experience which started this thread you would think I should know better, but right now little Munchkin has only one bar on the left side of the fuel gauge.

I have decided that my problem is that I need to buy gas so seldom that I forget to look at the fuel gauges, and I have two -- the one on the dash and an Ultragauge. At just about 4-score years old I reckon my whole life is a senior moment. :eek:

Jim
 

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Just in case my fuel gauge turns out to be a bit inaccurate...I purchased this axillary fuel tank kit on eBay for my Smart...provides peace of mind!

I assume it meets all current federal safety standards for aftermarket accessories...and it's corrosion resistant too!

:D

 
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