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.

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
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. My fuel tank is reading empty when it is still half full

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: Location of the cabin filter and rocking noise underneath vehicle. Gas guage keeps going up and down

Hi there. The air cabin filter on the Caravan is located behind the glove box. To access it, you'll have to remove the glove box or have a professional mechanic replace the air cabin filter. In regards to the knocking...

Q: Turn signal malfunctioning, as well as other lights

The front control module controls all of the vehicle's lighting functions. From your description it sounds like this module is failing. However, before replacing the front control module, connectors and wiring should be checked to ensure there is no harness...

Q: Fuel tank has no shield & cracked by rocks/debris

Hello there, this is an uncommon issue. With the exception of a few vehicles, fuel tanks in vehicles are made from plastic and unshielded. In almost all circumstances there is no adverse effects from this. The fuel tanks can crack...

Related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...