Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Fuel Gage

Needle of fuel gage wanders and shows wrong level of fuel in tank. What is easiest and most inexpensive way to find source of problem, and the how to fix it?

Chances Are Good That The Fuel Level Sensor In The Gas Tank Must Be Replaced.

Lots of these sensors (senders) have gone bad. These sensors have a float that floats in the gasoline and moves an arm up and down as the gas quantity changes. The arm attaches to the fuel level sensor that attaches to the fuel pump module that fits into a hole in top of the gas tank.

Tiny little “fingers” of metal attached to the wiper on the float arm move and “wipe” a printed circuit on a small circuit board on the sensor assembly. This sends an electrical current to the gauge on the dashboard to indicate fuel level.

The culprit that usually causes your problem is sulfur in the gasoline that reacts with the tiny metal fingers on the sensor’s “wiper”. The fingers disintegrate. They just partially dissolve. GM has replaced lots of these on cars while still covered by warranty.

Have it confirmed (properly diagnosed) and then get that sensor replaced. Many people will tell you that you need to replace the whole fuel pump / fuel sensor assembly. However, GM makes a kit that contains just the sensor assembly (flost, arm, wiper w/new little fingers, circuit board, etcetera). This part, form Chevy should be in the $50 - $75 range, I’m guessing. Call the Chevy dealer and ask for a fuel level sensor kit.

The gas tank will no doubt have to come out to install the sensor. I don’t think there’s access from above like on some GM passenger cars, but ask. Get some estimates for installing it.

Oh, and do the technicians a favor. Go to have it repaired when the gas tank is quite low. Otherwise they’ll have to pump gas out.


P.S. A search will get lots of hits. Click this link to a GM Minivan forum on this topic:

I’m Curious. What Model Year Is This Vehicle And About How Many Miles On It?