Subaru Gas Gauge


Click & Clack,

I know you guys love Subaru’s as do I, so here is a question for you concerning my wife’s 2005 Outback’s gas gauge. First the set-up. While my wife is more concerned that she always has enough gas to get places, I work on the rule that “Let’s see how accurate that ‘miles to go’ really is!! When we were on the freeway last week and heading home from a long day of shopping (or should I say a day of her and the son shopping and me tagging along wondering if a stick in the eye might be more enjoyable), we had a 1/4 tank of gas to go and the computer estimated 80 miles left till empty. We no more then passed an exit and both remarked “That’s plenty till home since it is only 30 miles.”, the car sputtered and died. I walked back to the last exit (of course it was 95 and humid, but only a ‘short’ 3/4 mile walk), bought (since the station didn’t ‘borrow’) a gas can and 2 gallons of gas. Of course, since this is an embarrassing moment, the rule is you will always run into somebody that knows you, and ask ‘What’s going on?’. But on the positive side, I got a ride back to the car and my waiting wife and son. Anyway, back to the problem. I put in the 2 gallons, stopped back at the station and filled the tank, but the total intake was only 13.7, and this was with the 2 gallons I just added. Now, I know the tank is 16.9 gal so I should have had at least 3 gallons left! Usually the low fuel light comes on at 40 miles, so I had no idea what was going on. So, the next day I brought it to the dealer to check it out and try to figure out what was going on. I didn’t want the wife to run out of gas sometime she tried to follow my trick and see if ‘I can break the record as to how far I can go on a tank’ game. I tried to reason with myself as to what was the cause; fuel pump, fuel pickup, etc. But of course, since nothing showed up on the computer read out, the dealers explanation was “I 'donno” what to tell you” and here’s the bill for putting it on the diagnostic machine ($50) ‘Bye’. They did ask if I ran premium (since it is the 2.5 XT turbo) and I of coursed lied and said Yes. They did however, re-program the computer for a miss they said it had, but that was covered under warranty. Finally, my question!! What the h*ll is going on? Could it have been the heat? The re-programming that was needed (per bulletin they said)? Not running premium all the time (I know that isn’t the case, but I figured I would ask, since the wife will and she will not believe me if I say I did and I didn’t. FYI-rule number 2, never lie to the wife)? Any thoughts?


Fuel-less in Minnesota

PS - Just in case you were wondering, rule # 1 is - Never ever turn down free food


You won’t get Click and Clack on this board, only a number of aiders and abetters.

I don’t think there is anything complicated about this.
Never put all of your faith in a gas gauge.
Usually they’re fairly stable but can go off on a tangent at any time and that includes the Low Fuel light.
They can change from day to day and the problem is usually in the tank sending unit.

One of my old cars had a fairly reliable Low Fuel light and I always knew I had a good 50 miles left when it illuminated.
One day it popped on and since the next station was only 2 miles ahead I did not worry.
It sputtered and died a block away and momentum carried me on into the station lot.