Even the least mechanically inclined drivers in Costa Mesa almost certainly know how to read two things on their dashboard - the speedometer and fuel gauge. But like any other part of your vehicle, these can malfunction. Let’s take a look at how your fuel gauge works, and why it might stop giving you an accurate readout. Your fuel gauge can get stuck in one place, or give an inaccurate reading, sometimes even moving around randomly. This is often accompanied by your check engine light illuminating. If this happens without you noticing, you can run out of fuel even if your gas gauge still reads far from empty, leaving you stranded and needing either a tow or a push to the nearest gas station.
The reading on your dashboard’s gas gauge is transmitted by a component called the fuel sending unit, which consists of a float with a thin metal rod attached to it floating inside of your gas tank. As the fuel level gets lower, the float goes with it, causing the metal rod to move across a resistor. This is translated electronically into a reading, which is displayed on the fuel gauge on your dashboard.
Before concluding that you need an entire new fuel sending unit, you should make sure that the fuse for your gas gauge is not blown - in fact, this should be your starting point for all electrical problems, as it is easy to do and costs nothing. Check your vehicle owner’s manual, or consult our certified mechanics at ExperTec Automotive of Long Beach to find out how to locate the fuse and check that it is still good.
If your fuse is still good, then you most likely have a malfunction with your fuel sending unit. Diagnosing and repairing the issue is not an easy job to do at home - it involves draining your fuel tank, figuring out what is wrong with your fuel sending unit, and figuring out how to fix it, and in many cars it is very hard to access and remove the fuel sending unit. We highly recommend that you get professional help for any problems where you have to open your gas tank.
Many people who notice that their fuel gauge has stopped 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? What if your estimate is off and you run out of gas in the middle of the road? While a faulty gas gauge won’t affect your car’s engine or performance, it can easily lead to a huge inconvenience.
If your vehicle’s fuel gauge has started malfunctioning, call our team today to schedule an appointment. ExperTec Automotive in Long Beach is fully equipped to deal with any of your fuel gauge and fuel sending unit issues. ExperTec is Costa Mesa’s most trusted auto repair shop!