Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My fuel tank is reading empty when it is still half full

asked by on

For the life of my car that I've had it I've had a problem with the fuel gauge not reading correctly. But lately I've been getting a low fuel warning, going to fill up and only filling it a little more than half way

My car has 112000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: This is a simple mechanical failure. Locate...

This is a simple mechanical failure. Located on the fuel pump is a float (quite like the one in your toilet) that sends a digital reading to the instrument cluster on your dashboard. This float can become clogged with debris and is prone to other mechanical failures that prevent it from moving freely.

Some vehicles can experience a failed electrical connection, but that typically makes the entire gauge inoperable. You will likely need to drop the tank and replace the fuel pump altogether. The fuel pump itself may or may not be bad itself, but the pump and float are all part of the same module.

I recommend having a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, determine the exact source of the fuel misreading and replace the fuel pump if needed.

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

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: Dashboard gauges don't work

There is still a ground path problem from the engine to the instrument cluster, whether through the chassis or not. Might be worth running a new ground wire directly from the engine block to the ground connector on the instrument...

Q: CD changer locked open.

The CD changer is equipped with a mechanical motor that opens and closes the loading mechanism. Over time this plastic motor either strips out or just stops working. There are some electronic rebuilders available that can repair this unit, but...

Q: 1992 Ford F-350 won't start or when it does only drives 20 ft then dies

Hey there, thanks for writing in about your 1992 Ford F-350. There are a few angles to cover when checking for problems on a stalling vehicle. The fuel pressure must be correct and a clogged fuel filter can lead to...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
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...