Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Check engine light comes on when fuel gauge drops to 1/4 tank or lower.

asked by on

Hello, my check engine comes on when fuel drops to a 1/4 tank or lower and vehicles runs rough, but when tank is filled light goes out and car runs better. I haD a scan done at Autozone and it showed misfire on cylinders1 thru 6.

A: Hi there, thanks for writing in. It sounds...

Hi there, thanks for writing in.

It sounds like your car is experiencing misfires due to low fuel. Even though your tank reads 1/4 full, the fuel level sender may be incorrect. This could be compounded by the fact that having the tank under 1/4 full, the fuel could slosh away from the fuel pump inlet point and cause it to starve for fuel. If the car runs totally fine with a full tank, my suggestion for the short term would be to just keep the tank over 1/4 full, which is good practice anyway. The fuel pump is inside the tank on your car, and relies on being submerged in fuel to stay cool. When the tank is constantly run low, the pump can overheat and have a reduced service light. The long term solution would be to have the check engine light diagnosed and the fuel level sender accuracy checked by a qualified professional, such as one from YourMechanic.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Transmission clicks and jump while shifting in stop and go traffic

Hello. This vehicle has a history of transmission problems. Most of the time it is because the second gear band fractures. When this occurs, it has trouble holding several gears properly and causing shifting issues. It may also be caused...

Q: Transmission cooling hose keeps blowing off of radiator

The retainer clip needs to be replaced. It is not able to secure the line under high temperature and pressures. Get the part from the dealer and have the line checked for any problems, and replace as needed. If the...

Q: What are the consumables and replacement parts

The difference between a consumables and replacement part is that any component that does not need to be replaced on a regular schedule is considered a replacement part. Examples of consumables are: brake pads, rotors, tires, wiper blades, air/fuel...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.