Dear Car Talk,
I recently bought a 2019 Ram 1500 Classic. I like the truck except for the knob used to replace a normal gear shift. It’s just another knob on the dash and I’ve already reached down once while driving to turn down the fan and find I’ve put my truck in neutral. What if I had wanted to turn the fan off?
But that’s not my question.
My driveway is a pretty good incline and I have to park on my driveway because there’s no room in my junk packed garage. I drove home last night with a little less than a quarter of a tank of gas left. Plenty to get to a gas station in the morning. But when I started the truck, the low gas warning light came on immediately making me think that someone has siphoned gas out during the night… I did make it safely to the gas station, but when I got there, the gas gauge showed the same amount of gas that I parked with the night before. It occurred to me that the gas gauge and the gas pump in the tank may be on different ends of the tank. Is it possible I could park with gas at night and not be able to start the truck in the morning? Since this revelation, I’ve been…
Afraid To Park
Dear Car Talk,
Doubtful. Chances are the low level light comes on at around the ESTIMATED fifty miles to empty.
Eliminate your fear by filling the tank when it gets to 1/2 tank on your fuel gauge.
Yes, my wife does it 3 or 4 times a year.
I’ve owned one car close to 10 years and another 4 years and you have discovered something that I have yet to discover-the low fuel light. I’ve never seen mine because I always fill up around 1/2 tank so never worry about it.
At any rate the sensor to turn on the warning light can be susceptible to the whether the vehicle is parked level or not or the fuel not sloshing around like when driving.
I have a car that I’ve seen do the same thing a couple of times. The low fuel light comes on when parked on an incline, but goes off when pulled to a level surface. I imagine if the incline was enough, the vehicle could fail to start while on the incline. Of course, maybe it would start if you pushed it down the hill onto level ground. But that’s cutting it a wee bit close! I generally try to refuel around 1/4 tank.
I think it is just the inclined tank giving a false reading. My low fuel warning comes on going up hill sometimes when I have a half tank. It did it a few times today and when I stopped at the pumps, it only took 54 gallons to fill the 100 gallon tank. When it starts doing this, the gauge will go down to almost E, then come back up to 1/2 tank reading when I level out.
Yep. This is the answer.
That tank is not empty, but if the level sensor were on the right, it would tell you it was.
Right, but if the fuel pickup is towards the right of the tank, you could have trouble starting.
Good thing it wasn’t, then.
It will be if you park in the other direction. So…avoid that, I suppose
I wonder if low fuel light were desinged to come on at a half a tank would the glass be half full or half empty.
Yes, that’s a possibility, esp if the tank was nearly empty. But if the warning light only comes on when the truck is on the incline, on flat-land no warning light, not starting after parking on the incline is not something I’d worry about. If it ever does happen since you are on an incline you can just coast, backing down the driveway to more level ground, then it will start. Really super steep inclines are rarely more than a 30% grade, and that’s, what 15 degrees? I don’t see this being a problem.
It’s supposed to come on somewhere between 20 and 50 miles remaining range so… Ask a Lamborghini driver.
Don’t tell my wife that, It does her good to walk the 6 blocks to the gas station that she drove by with the light on.