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: My 2009 Chevy Aveo LT won't crank over until all the gauge needles jump on to their normal position. What is wrong?

Hi there. There are connectors in the back of the dash gauge cluster in the dashboard. One or all of the harness are loose and causing an issue with the gauges. Remove the dash panel and remove the dash gauge...

Q: Oil light flickers.

Your engine knock may be due to worn rod or crank bearings. You should have the oil pressure checked to see if it is within specifications. With over 220k miles you may need to have the bearings and/or the oil...

Q: How do the fuel consumption features work?

Your car can provide a lot of different information through the central display. One of the features standard on your vehicle is an instantaneous fuel consumption reading. Another is the average fuel consumption reading. Here’s what you need to know...

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...
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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...