how to check how much gas you have with a broken fuel gauge

How to Check How Much Gas You Have with a Broken Fuel Gauge

Picture this; you’re cruising down the highway, enjoying the open road, when suddenly you glance down at your dashboard and realize your fuel gauge isn’t working. Panic sets in as you wonder, “How much gas do I have left?” Whether it’s due to a malfunctioning gauge or an electrical issue, a broken fuel gauge can leave any driver feeling stranded and uncertain about their fuel levels.

In this comprehensive guide, we will let you know how to check how much gas you have with a broken fuel gauge. Let’s start.

How to Check How Much Gas You Have with a Broken Fuel Gauge?

There are several methods you can use to estimate your fuel level if your fuel gauge is broken. Here are some practical methods mentioned for you.

Use Trip Meter

One easy method to monitor the fuel level with a broken fuel gauge is to rely on your vehicle’s trip meter. You can reset your trip meter to zero when you fill up your tank and keep track of the distance you’ve traveled since then.

Most vehicles have an average miles per gallon (MPG) rating, so you can use this along with the distance traveled to estimate how much gas you’ve consumed and approximately how much is left in your tank.

Monitor Fuel Tank Capacity

Most vehicles have a standard tank size, which you can find in your owner’s manual or by searching online. By knowing your tank’s capacity and roughly how much gas you had when the gauge stopped working, you can make an educated guess about your current fuel level. 

Physical Check of the Fuel Tank

You can also perform a physical check of your fuel tank. While this method is less precise, it can give you a rough idea of how much gas is left when the gauge is not working.

When checking the fuel tank, after opening the fuel cap, we recommend using a flashlight if it’s dark outside and exercising caution to avoid spills or accidents.

Keeping Track of Mileage and Fuel Consumption

Additionally, keeping track of your mileage and fuel consumption can help you estimate your remaining fuel. By recording the miles you’ve driven after you fill up and how much gas you added, it will be easy for you to calculate your vehicle’s average MPG and use this information to calculate the fuel level with a malfunctioning fuel gauge.

How Do You Know If Your Fuel Gauge Is Broken?

One common indication of a malfunctioning fuel gauge is that the needle on your fuel gauge doesn’t move or remains stuck, regardless of how much fuel you’ve added to the tank. In addition, you would notice that the needle fluctuates erratically or shows wrong fuel levels.

Another clue that your fuel gauge may be broken is if your low fuel warning light remains illuminated even after refueling. This could indicate a problem with the sensor or wiring associated with the fuel gauge system. As you know the low-fuel warning light should go off right after you get fuel.

Furthermore, if you notice any unusual behavior when filling up your tank, such as the pump shutting off prematurely or fuel overflowing, it could suggest an issue with the fuel gauge or the fuel tank ventilation system.

Precautions to Take When Driving with a Broken Fuel Gauge

Driving with a broken fuel gauge can be challenging, but with the right precautions, you can minimize the risk of running out of gas unexpectedly. Here are some important steps you can take to stay safe on the road.

Monitor Your Mileage

As we previously mentioned, keep a close eye on your odometer and track how many miles you’ve driven since your last fill-up. Knowing your typical fuel consumption rate can help you estimate when you’ll need to refuel next.

Use the Trip Meter

Reset your trip meter each time you fill up your tank. This will allow you to track the distance you’ve traveled since your last refueling, giving you a better idea of when you’ll need to stop for gas again.

The odometer is an essential component when the fuel gauge is not working to keep track of fuel left in the vehicle. So, always make sure to reset the odometer after each fuel refill until you repair the gauge. 

Plan Your Routes Carefully

When driving with a broken fuel gauge, it’s essential to plan your routes strategically. Avoid long stretches of road without gas stations, and familiarize yourself with the locations of nearby fuel stops along your route.

Keep a Reserve

As a precaution, always try to keep a reserve of gas in your tank. Aim to refuel when you have at least a quarter of a tank remaining to ensure you have a buffer in case you encounter unexpected delays or detours. This a great regardless of whether your fuel gauge works or not. 

Be Mindful of Terrain and Driving Conditions

Remember that driving uphill, in heavy traffic, or in extreme weather conditions can increase your fuel consumption. Adjust your driving habits accordingly and plan for potential fuel efficiency fluctuations.

Stay Calm and Avoid Panic

If you do find yourself running low on gas or unsure of your fuel levels, try to remain calm and avoid panic. Pull over safely to assess the options we elaborated on and consider reaching out for assistance if needed.

How to Fix a Broken Fuel Gauge? 

Fixing a broken fuel gauge can vary depending on the underlying cause of the issue. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot and potentially repair your fuel gauge:

Check the Wiring Connections

If your vehicle’s fuel gauge is not working as it should, we recommend starting the troubleshooting by inspecting the wiring connections to the fuel gauge. Loose or corroded connections can disrupt the electrical signal and cause the gauge to malfunction.

Test the Fuel Sending Unit

The fuel-sending unit is what measures the fuel level in the tank. It sends this info to the fuel gauge and when it’s faulty the fuel gauge won’t work as it should. You can use a multimeter to test the resistance of the sending unit. A significant deviation from the expected resistance values could indicate a faulty sending unit that needs replacement.

Inspect the Fuel Gauge Cluster

If the wiring and sending unit appear to be functioning correctly, the issue may lie with the fuel gauge cluster itself. Remove the cluster from the dashboard and inspect it for any signs of damage or malfunction. We’ve seen in some cases, a faulty gauge may need to be replaced entirely.

Check the Fuse

A blown fuse can also cause the fuel gauge to stop working. Locate the fuse associated with the fuel gauge in your vehicle’s fuse box and check if it’s blown. Replace the fuse if necessary and test the gauge again.

Calibrate the Gauge

In some instances, a simple recalibration of the fuel gauge may resolve the issue. Consult your vehicle’s manual or manufacturer guidelines for instructions on how to calibrate the gauge properly.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you’re unable to identify or resolve the issue on your own, it may be best to seek assistance from a qualified mechanic or automotive technician. They can diagnose the problem more accurately using specialized tools and equipment.

Hope our blog post helped you. Leave your comment below. Have a great day!

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