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・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Gauges have gone dark

Hi there. Since your issue is intermittent this would lead me to believe you are experiencing a bad connection behind your dashboard. A loose connection between your light bulbs and sockets will cause this problem along with a fault in...

Q: Multiple warning lights but car runs fine

Hello. You may have different problems occurring here. Since the Check Engine Light is on, I would scan the computer for codes first. The codes will give me a good idea of where to start with the diagnosis. Due to...

Q: My truck has a fuel smell in the exhaust and a horrible idle

I would suggest checking the idle air control valve to be sure it has a proper connection and is not dirty. As you may know, this reads the air intake into the fuel injection system as it is mixed with...

Related articles

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...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
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...