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2001 Ford Focus Gas Gauge problem

I have a 2001 Ford Focus SE Wagon. I have a problem with my gas gauge when I fill up. It seems to have started after the car was ran dry of gas.

When I fill up the tank, the gauge will go all the way to full, but then I drive about five miles and it will plummet to empty and the fuel light and engine light will come on. I can drive for about 50 or so more miles and the gauge will come back up and the lights will turn off, but it is not an accurate reading of how much fuel I have in the tank. The mechanic I took it to gave the the “huh, that’s weird” comment but could not find a reason. (Pretty sure I am looking for a new mechanic).

Any ideas what would cause this?

Fuel level sender in the gas tank.

I agree. The fuel level sender is the likely culprit.

Thanks for the responses. I will take it in and ask them to check that. Incidentally, how much should the repair cost (ballpark).

Thanks again.

The part is not too expensive, but the labor can be. It depends on the car. On some, you can replace the sender or fuel pump by removing the rear seat cushion. On many, however, the whole fuel tank has to be removed. I don’t know which your car would be.
How many miles on the car? You may want to change the fuel pump at the same time if the miles are high.

83000 miles on the car. Yeah, I think the gas tank has to come off to get to it on my car. If they are taking the whole thing apart, makes sense to get the whole fuel pump replaced.

Thanks for the quick responses.