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.

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
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Check engine light comes on when fuel gauge drops to 1/4 tank or lower.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Car will only drive in reverse or 2nd and 1st

This may be a sign of low transmission fluid or a faulty transmission control solenoid. As you know, automatic transmissions use pressurized hydraulic fluid to change gears. Every time a gear change is required, the car's computer activates a transmission...

Q: HVAC actuators not working properly

There are quite a few issues reported with the blend door actuator behind the glovebox being problematic. Other possibilities include a faulty BCM (Body Control Module) or damaged HVAC harness. Before having any parts replaced, you may want to enlist...

Q: Battery and alternator issues.

This may be a sign of a weak battery, a failing voltage regulator or failing alternator. As you may know, the alternator is responsible for charging the battery while the engine runs by generating amperage and recharging the battery while...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
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.