I just picked up my Smart last Thursday and have been going through the Owner's Manual very closely. For the most part it is understandable but when I got to page 137, "Reserve Fuel Indicator" I absolutely could not decipher what they were trying to say.

You are driving on reserve fuel if there are no more than 1.0 US gal (3.78 L) in the tank.
If this occurs,
-the fuel pump symbol in the fuel level display flashes
-the reserve fuel indicator shows the fuel level in the tank at exactly 0.1 US gal

I called the dealer and two people I talked to could not explain what the manual meant. (Incredible--something about if you really want to be successful in sales you must have a thorough knowledge of the product ---(isn't this what they do for a living?)

I then called the national customer service number (1-800-762-7887) and asked about the statement on pg 137. The guy that answered said he would have to find someone who knew the answer. After a lengthy wait he came back on the phone. Supposedly this is how the reserve fuel indication really works--very simple. When you have 1/2 gallon left the fuel pump symbol next to the fuel quantity bar will flash. Period. That simple. Just like it does in most every other brand of car.

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Ron M.
The manual is correct if confusing. When you reach the level of 1 gallon of gas remaining the trip odometer next to the small picture of the pump will dissapear and be replaced with an indicator that tells you that you have 1.0 Gal. It will then count down the final gal in tenths by showing you have .9 gals, then .8 gals then .7 gals and so forth until in goes to 0 gals remaining.

The trip odometer continues to track your mileage you just can't see it. As soon as you add fuel to the car and turn it on the trip odometer will again show and will be correct for the miles you have driven.
Ken's description is correct. The last gallon will countdown by tenths of a gallon until it reaches 0.0

Also - Most have found that a small amount of fuel remains even after the reserve indicator reaches zero.
For Ken. Thanks for giving me the real answer. I am absolutely astounded that neither the dealership nor the national Customer Service people could get it right. Amazing!! Thank God they're not trying to do something really difficult like writing or understanding the instructions for a Lego set.
The dealers probably never drive their cars until there is only one gallon left- I do it all the time knowing that I've got at least 30 miles until I need to fill up again. the lowest I've gotten to is .6
I filled up last night with 0.4 showing. It took 8.886 gallons to fill. I am assuming that there was just over 1 gallon left if there is a 10 gallon tank. Some cars require a minimum of gas in the tank to lubricate the gas pump or it could be damaged. I read that the tank is 10 gallons but holds 1.3 in reserve. Looks like I dipped a bit into the “reserve”.
On my wife's convertible I finally experienced the low fuel situation. When you get down under the last 1/8 marker on the dash the fuel pump symbol starts flashing. When you get to 1 gallan left the trip odometer is replaced with a indicator that shows "1.0 gal". As this is used it drops in 1/10 increments. We got down to 0.5 gal before filling. The service manager at our dealership informed me that the gas is TRULY a 10 gallon tank, but because of the way it is designed it only hold 8.8 gallons if you fill it and don't try to "top it off" when the nozzle kicks off. The reason they don't want it topped off is because of the pressure in the tank and the sensors when the cap is locked back on.

In my coupe I haven't gotten down that low and I really can't say that much about which of us would wait for the gas to get tht low because a lot of women will probably read this and I can get in trouble without ANY extra help (if you know what I mean).
The gas tank holds 8.72 gallons of gas (operations manual page 304) The "reserve fuel indicator" comes on when there is 1.0 gallons left in the tank. Period. There is no reserve tank. When it counts down from 1.0 thats how much gas you have left.

If you fill up and it puts in more than the 8.72 gallons you probably ran the pump after it shut off --filling it to more than its safe limit -or the gauge at the gas pump is incorrect.

Have a great day!

Peter Bartlett
You know, this is only an issue in the States. I have been told that in Europe, when the needle is on "E", it really has 0 gallons in the tank. Over here, "E" means you have 1.3 gallons left. Only in America!

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