Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Meter Assembly

The fuel meter assembly is the gauge or display, usually located in the instrument cluster, that displays the amount of fuel present in the vehicle’s fuel tank. The fuel meter assembly usually displays the fuel level as a needle on a gauge that is separated into sections, or as a digital, numerical readout. The gauge serves the simple purpose of letting the driver know the vehicle’s current fuel level so that the driver can accurately gauge when fuel needs to be added. When the fuel meter assembly fails, engine performance will often be unaffected, however the overall drivability of the vehicle will be affected as the driver will have to deal with not having an accurate fuel level indicator. As the fuel meter assembly is usually controlled by the fuel sending unit, many of the symptoms of a bad fuel meter assembly are similar to those of a bad sending unit. A bad fuel meter assembly will usually produce a few specific symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Erratic behavior from the fuel gauge

One of the first symptoms of a problem with the fuel meter assembly is erratic behavior from the gauge. If the fuel sending unit that is located in the gas tank fails or has any issues it can cause the needle or display to behave erratically. The position of the needle or the digit on the gauge may change suddenly, or drop in and out unpredictably, and function apparently fine at other times. An inaccurate fuel reading can make it difficult to know when the vehicle will require refueling.

2. Fuel gauge stuck on empty

Another symptom of a potential issue with the fuel gauge is stuck on empty. Once more, if the fuel sending unit has an issue or fails, it can cut off or give a bad signal to the gauge, which may cause it to stay on empty. In some vehicles the low fuel light will still work independently of the fuel gauge or readout, however the vehicle will be left without any sort of indicator for the fuel level.

3. Fuel gauge stuck on full

And just the same as the fuel meter assembly can be stuck on empty, it can also be stuck on full. Again, a faulty fuel sending unit can cause the fuel meter assembly to malfunction and become stuck on full. A mechanical failure inside the instrument cluster can also cause the gauge to remain stuck on full, if it is a mechanical gauge style meter with a needle.

Due to the fact that the fuel meter assembly is often built into the cluster, and the component that controls it is located in the fuel tank, a faulty fuel meter assembly can often be difficult to diagnose. If you suspect that your vehicle’s fuel meter assembly may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if gauge, or perhaps cluster, should be replaced.


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Kenneth

20 years of experience
762 reviews
Kenneth
20 years of experience
BMW X5 L6-3.0L - Fuel System - Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Kenneth was extremely knowledgeable. He correctly diagnosed my vehicle by actually going under the hood, removing a section and running some sort of test that told him exactly what the problem was. He also arrived 15 minutes early and had prepared for the visit by contacting me the day prior to get further clarification.
Toyota Camry - Car does not move when I step on the gas pedal Inspection - Downey, California
Punctual, professional and very informative

Arturo

27 years of experience
302 reviews
Arturo
27 years of experience
Nissan Titan V8-5.6L - Fuel System Inspection - La Mesa, California
Informative and efficient

Michael

4 years of experience
222 reviews
Michael
4 years of experience
Volkswagen Jetta L5-2.5L - Fuel System Inspection - Indianapolis, Indiana
professional ,informative and knowledgeable

Raymond

37 years of experience
382 reviews
Raymond
37 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.4L - Fuel System - Las Vegas, Nevada
Raymond was very knowledgeable mechanic and through in his testing. I trust him for any future from your mechanic.

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