A fuel gauge is the safety system in your car to show the gas level in your tank. You must check its functioning before going to your office because sometimes it shows false reading and your car is out of fuel.
Common problems with a fuel gauge include an issue with its sender unit, fuel gauge resistors, and a loose float gauge. The problem also comes due to faulty circuits, including corroded wires, poor ground connections, broken resistor wires, and loose connections. The failure of the gas gauge, low voltage, blown fuse, and faulty instrumental cluster also cause problems. The fuel gauge needle remains stuck on a full or empty point or fluctuates between them.
It is unsafe to drive your car with a broken fuel gauge because you do not know about the levels of the container. In addition, it does not show any warning message and the remaining miles you can drive with a minimum amount of gas.
What is a fuel gauge?
It is the instrument that is present in every automobile to show the fuel in the gas tanks.
The safety feature makes the drivers aware when the fuel levels are low. A needle indicates the different levels on the screen.
It displays the information on the screen by getting signals from the sending unit. You must refill the gas from the gas stations if the needle indicates low levels.
It is also the after-market addition that you can install if these are not present in your vehicles. The issue with this system represents by the warning sign on the screen.
What are common problems with a fuel gauge?
Several problems can cause the inappropriate functioning of this system. The faulty system is problematic because you cannot determine the gas level before road trips.
The issue with sending unit
The sending unit is the part attached to the tank system to read a specific message. It has three components float, resistor, and the long arm, that work together.
It is helpful to measure the adequate level of fuel in the container. The display shows the reading after receiving signals from this sending unit.
When the sending unit does not supply any signal, no reading will appear on the screen. The sending unit’s fault comes from poor maintenance and poor installation.
It causes the fuel tanks to become dirty and can cause a problem.
You have to test the sending unit by attaching the voltmeter with it. Attach one probe with sending unit and the other with the ground.
The no fluctuations in the reading of the voltmeter show the failure of sending unit. You can fix the problem by replacing the faulty sending unit with a new one to make the gas gauge functional.
Faulty fuel gauge resistor
The resistor is the part of the fuel gauge, and it is the electrical device that helps resist the current flow in the tank.
The faulty resistor causes the fluctuation in the reading of this instrument and also makes the drivers confused while driving.
You become worried about the refilling of gas in the tank. This is because the resistor contains the resistive material strip for its working.
The faults come in this strip, making the complete system faulty. The resistive material strips also wear down after some time and cause issues.
You can see the erratic behavior of the gauge in this condition. The resistor is the extension of the sending unit, so you have to change it entirely in case of damage.
Electric Circuit issues
It needs an electricity supply to display the adequate level of gas on display. The signals are sent to the sender unit by using a long wire.
The wire needs an electricity supply for sending signals. Sometimes the wires become corroded and cannot provide the appropriate signals to show the level of gas on the screen.
The corrosion on these wires comes due to the presence of humidity or water in the tank. In addition, the issue of rust also comes due to the presence of dirt and dust particles.
The low quality of fuels also causes this long wire to become corroded. The loose connections also interrupt their functioning.
You can fix it by changing the whole wire to a new one. Moreover, it is also necessary to use high-quality gas and remove humidity from the tank to decrease the chances of rust there.
Failure of the gas gauge
Gas gauge failure is not a common issue and rarely occurs in some vehicles. However, the failure can cause the needle to get stuck at a specific place and cannot move anywhere.
The failure comes from internal faults in the circuit units, which cannot receive the electric current and supply the signals to the sending unit.
You can identify the failure by checking the voltage of the sending unit. Connect the sending unit with a voltmeter to check its voltage supply.
The no reading on the screen shows the failure of the whole component, and you have to replace it completely.
The different fuses are present in your car’s fuse box, which is specific for various systems.
The blown fuse can cause malfunctioning in the entire component, and you cannot see any safety reading on your screen.
The issue with the fuse comes due to wear and tear or damage to circuits and their wiring. The loose connections of wires cause a blown fuse.
Moreover, the broken or shorted wires in circuits also cause this issue. Therefore, you have to approach the fuse box of your automobile and find the relevant one.
Replace its fuse so it can show a reading on display to prevent any kind of emergencies.
False ground wire
The ground wire is also necessary to prevent the entry of static current into the tank. The wire that extends the sending unit is grounded or ground wire.
The wire is connected with the frame or chassis structure of your car. Many of the connections are also grounded in the electrical system.
The ground connections become faulty due to the following factors and cause issues in the instrument’s functioning.
The exposure to rainwater and mud during the rainy season makes them rusty. Moreover, the road salts also come in contact with these connections and corrode the wires.
You can fix it by checking the ground connections and cleaning the corroded wires. After cleaning, the wires must be placed at their specific position.
Loose float gauge
A float gauge is a structure in the fuel tank made up of buoyant composite or foamy material.
It floats on the gas tank’s upper side and helps measure its levels. It has a long metal arm that is connected with a resistor.
The float gauge becomes loose due to long-term driving on bumpy and irregular road surfaces. Therefore, the loose structure cannot help measure the accurate fuel levels in the container.
The loose part causes up and down movement, resulting in reading fluctuation. In addition, the presence of a hole in floats causes a problem in its floating.
You can reset the system by pressing the Trip button and holding it for seconds to fix the issue.
Broken resistance wire
The long wire is between the sender unit and the gauge for transferring signals. Therefore, the short supply or broken wire can cause an issue in signaling.
The sender unit cannot help in the adequate movement of the needle according to the levels of the tank. Moreover, the loose connection of this connected wire is also problematic.
The resistance wire is also present in the sender unit, which can break down after usage for a certain time.
You can replace this wire for appropriate connections and fix the loose connections.
Faulty instrument cluster
The instrument cluster is the major component of automobiles, known as houses for various indicators and displays.
The failure of the instrumental cluster system is rare, but it can occur in your car, and you face these problems.
The voltage regulator in cars supplies the voltage to different systems. Malfunctioning of this voltage regulator cause failure of the instrumental cluster.
You can reset the instrumental cluster of your car if you face any issue with the movement of the needle on your screen.
The voltage supply is necessary for working the sender unit and fuel gauge. The whole component gets voltage from the battery of the automobile.
The low voltage from old batteries causes the malfunctioning of this instrument. The fault also comes due to undercharging of alternators.
Moreover, you can also face problems with loose and corroded battery terminals. The issue with fuse and electrical system also causes low voltage supply.
You can check the working of alternators to fix the issue of less voltage supply. In addition, it is also better to clean the corroded terminals for an accurate supply of power.
What are the symptoms of a faulty fuel gauge?
You can identify the problem in the fuel gauge by following symptoms. The malfunctioning needle indicates that there is an issue with this instrument.
Needle moves irregularly
Many people complain that the needle of their fuel gauge moves irregularly. It changes its position in a few minutes, making the drivers worry about their vehicles.
The behavior comes due to bad sending units and inappropriate signaling. You can see the needle in one-fourth position, suddenly showing that you are out of fuel.
The fluctuation between full and empty also occurs while moving in hilly areas due to changes in gravity in these areas.
The needle shows the empty tank
Sometimes when you refill the gas in the tank, the needle does not come in full position and shows the empty status.
The issue with the floating arm, corroded wires, and faulty resistor causes the inappropriate signal supply.
The incorrect signaling due to these faulty components shows zero reading on the screen.
The needle remains stuck in full
The faulty fuel gauge also reads full reading all the time. Many people complain that this safety component cannot make them alert while driving on the road.
The issue comes from a faulty resistor continuously supplying voltage and indicating gas levels are full.
Moreover, the problem with sending unit, short supply, and poor ground connections also cause the needle to remain in full position.
What do people say about fuel gauges in their cars?
I surveyed about 378 people in America to take their reviews about the reliability and functioning of the fuel gauges in their cars.
Out of 378, 237 people (63%) said that their vehicles do not have any issues and are completely satisfied with their performance.
87 people (23%) said they face the problem with the fuel gauge, which is not working appropriately and misguiding the drivers while on the road trip.
54 people (14%) said they face the issue with floating gauges due to the use of low-quality gas.
One car driver mentioned: The needle of my fuel gauge shows inaccurate reading, which causes issues for me while I am on the highway.
One driver said: “I cannot exactly determine the gas level in the tank due to fluctuations in the movement of the needle in a few minutes.”
Another one said: “I always check my fuel gauge before refilling gas in my car to check their appropriate working, which benefits me.”