Re: Gas gauge, '08 LaCrosse

When gas level reaches approx 1/8 tank, the gauge needle abruptly swings to total EMPTY, message appears “Low Fuel”. Tank is not empty, but causes me to hit the panic button.

Car still under warranty?

yes. Car has approx 14,000 miles.

Fuel tanks are shaped and moulded to fit each model car. Therefore some of gas tank readings can be misleading. Most cars register “full” for quite a while before the needle starts to move down.

Your guage acts funny as the tank nears empty. You can’t really adjust these things, you just need to get used to the idiosycracies of your particular car. What is important is that the guage is consistent, meaning you have the same amount of gas in the tank when the guage reads 1/8 tank or the low fuel light comes on.

Response to last comment - if this is true, how does one know when the tank really is empty? It doesn’t make any sense for a gauge to function in this manner. The dealer told me that no one else had made this complaint…

Car gas gauges are not laboratory-grade measuring devices, and they do not move at a steady pace. As others have stated, it is important to know the particular characteristics of your car, including how the gas gauge functions.

On most cars, the gauge reads “full” until the tank is actually around the 3/4 mark, and then it falls in increments peculiar to that particular model. With most cars, the gauge falls very rapidly after the 1/4 mark.

If I was the OP, I would simply get into the habit of filling my tank when the gauge reads 1/4.
In fact, that is what I do, and my gauge is not as erratic in its readings as the OP’s gas gauge is.

Thanks very much for your input. You’ve been most helpful.

I’d Definitely Have This Written Up And Checked By The Dealer. Any Way Of Timing Things So That It Is Just Above 1/8th Tank When You Go There ?

Meanwhile, I’d look in the car’s Owners Manual for the fuel tank capacity. When the car hits “Low Fuel” I’d immediately fill the tank and note the amount. The difference between the manufacturer’s stated capacity and the amount it took to fill it is your “reserve” fuel.

Multiply that by the approximate MPG and you’ll know your approximate range when it says “Low Fuel”. Then you can relax a little when it says “Low Fuel”.

See if the dealer has any demos similar to your car and talk to sales people who drive them. Sales people often live off the bottom of the tank. Maybe you can drive one just getting ready to hit “low fuel”.

Also, if your dealer isn’t a great big high volume dealer, call some that are and ask Service if they have received similar complaints.

If the picture you paint for yourself of this problem indicates that only your car behaves this way then it shold be able to be corrected (warranty repair) by your dealer.


I’ve found on my cars that the gauge moves more slowly above half than near empty. But since it’s under warranty, you might as well get it checked.

BTW, when you fill it after this occurs, how many gallons fit in before the nozzle shuts off? The tank capacity is 17 gallons. If it takes 15 or so gallons when you fill it, I wouldn’t worry.