Even the most novice drivers know how to read two things on their dashboard: their speedometer, and their gas gauge. But what happens if your gas gauge isn’t reading your fuel level accurately? Sometimes, your gas gauge might get stuck in one place or randomly move around, often accompanied by a lit check engine light. If this happens without you noticing, your vehicle can very possibly run out of fuel while the gauge is still far from empty, leaving you stranded.
Many people who notice that their fuel gauge stop working simply fill their gas tank every few hundred miles, but what if you forget? What if a friend borrows your car and isn’t aware of the issue, and runs out of gas in the middle of their journey? A broken gas gauge, while it won’t disable your engine or affect your car’s performance, can easily lead to a huge inconvenience, having to leave your car stuck on the side of the road while you look for a ride or walk to the gas station. Or, if you don’t even know that your car is out of gas, what if it results in an expensive tow to a mechanic and hundreds of dollars wasted on diagnosis and repair that could have easily been avoided?
Your gas gauge reading is transmitted by a component called the fuel sending unit. A car’s fuel sending unit consists of a buoyant float and a thin metal rod attached to it. As the fuel tank’s gas level gets lower and lower, the float sinks, causing the metal rod to move across a resistor. The amount of resistance the rod encounters is translated electronically into a reading, which is displayed on the fuel gauge.
Before you decide that you need whole a new fuel sending unit, make sure that the gauge fuse is not blown (this should be a starting point for all electrical problems as it is easy to do and costs nothing). Check your vehicle owner’s manual or consult our mechanics to locate the fuse and check that it is working correctly.
If the fuse is still good, then it is likely that part or all of your fuel sending unit is malfunctioning. Diagnosing and repairing a fuel sending unit is not an easy job to do at home – it involves draining your fuel tank and figuring out what is wrong with your fuel sending unit and how to fix it, and in many cars the fuel sending unit can be very hard to access and remove. It is highly recommended that you consult the help of professionals to replace your faulty fuel sending unit.
At ExperTec Automotive in Huntington Beach, we can repair any of your fuel sending unit issues. If your vehicle’s gas gauge is acting strangely, call our state certified technicians today at (714)-848-9222 to schedule an appointment. ExperTec – Huntington Beach’s favorite AAA approved auto shop!