How to Deal with Erratic Fuel Gauge Operation

One thing that has commonly recurred among all models of the Silverado from 1999 to the present is erratic fuel gauge operation. The gauge doesn't accurately reflect how much fuel you still have.

This is a common issue from the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 to the 2500D as well as all other models of the full-sized pickup truck make and brand. Even with this light pickup truck line's improved heavy-duty engines and larger towing capacity, it still has its flaws.

Characterization of the Problem at Hand

  • Erratic Readings: You know there's something wrong with your vehicle's fuel gauge, especially if it's a Silverado, when it never reads the right amount of fuel on the tank. Perhaps it might not even register that there's gas in there at all. It's also known to fluctuate wildly if it's busted. For owners of Silverado vehicles with broken fuel gauges, the problem typically starts at around 150,000 miles.
  • Annoyances When It's Full: The problem with an erratic fuel gauge is that it affects the rest of your vehicle's parts as well. For example, you're left in the dark in regards to how much fuel you have left because the Low Fuel Light stays on even after you've filled 'er up. If a full tank of gas isn't enough to make that light go away, then you know that your gauge is acting up and giving the light false positives already.
  • Sometimes It Works, Sometimes It Doesn't: Another sign that you should go to a mechanic post-haste is when your fuel gauge starts working but then drops down to empty as soon as your truck or car starts moving. Or it could be the other way around. It could stay full after you've gotten a full tank of gas then it drops down gradually even when it's obvious you still got gas left.
  • It's Dangerous to Drive with a Busted Fuel Gauge: The last thing you want to happen is to drive along the highway at highway speeds then all of a sudden have your truck sputter to a halt in the middle of the road. That's an accident waiting to happen right there, or at least a cause of major traffic. You look at your gauge and see it claiming hat you have a quarter of a full tank left. You know it's lying or at least mistaken.

Potential Reasons for the Faulty Gauge

Some Chevy Silverado trucks have been recalled due to this tendency of their trucks to have failing gauges by faulty design. The potential reason for this is the sending unit or stepper motor going bad.

Even if you're not driving a Chevrolet, you should get your mechanic to take a look at your gauge as soon as it acts up. You don't want to be in the middle of nowhere far from a gas station when your truck runs on empty because your gauge can't give you an accurate reading.

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