Fuel gauge sender replacement cost ranges from $250 and $800.
The fuel gauge sender is responsible for sending a signal to the vehicle's fuel gauge indicating the amount of fuel in your fuel tank.
Without a proper fuel gauge sender, your gauge might overestimate or underestimate the current fuel level in your vehicle's tank.
It is very important to maintain a perfectly running fuel gauge sender to prevent dealing with situations where you are running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere without a close gas station.
This article provides all the details you need to know about the fuel gauge sender and estimates of replacement costs for different vehicles. We will also highlight a bad fuel gauge sender's main symptoms and ways to test for a faulty fuel gauge sender.
What is the fuel gauge sender, and what does it do?
The fuel gauge sender is a small component in your fuel tank responsible for telling your fuel gauge about the fuel level in your tank.
This sender is connected to a float that has a rod at the end. Within the rod, there is what's called a resistor. There is a store that is responsible for measuring the electrical flow and is based on current resistance. The more resistance in your fuel tank, the higher the fuel level.
There is also another metal strip connected to the fuel gauge. The strip is responsible for reading what the resistor is saying and translating it to the fuel gauge to read on your dashboard.
All these simple components within your fuel tank can cause damages to the fuel gauge sender. Without a properly working fuel gauge sender, the fuel gauge will not display the right reading indicating the correct fuel level in your tank.
Keep in mind that your fuel tank's faulty readings do not always mean a problem with the fuel gauge sender. It can also be related to multiple other factors. Some of these factors might include issues due to your fuel tank's shape, which might throw off your gauge’s reading.
It is crucial to notice any signs of a bad fuel gauge sender to take care of it immediately. Otherwise, the fuel gauge might under or overestimate your fuel level in your tank. Therefore, you might get to a situation where you don't have any fuel in your tank, which could cause some issues to your vehicle's mechanical components.
How much does it cost to replace the fuel gauge sender?
Although the fuel gauge sender is a very simple and small component, you might need to pay between $250 and $800!
The price differs significantly by vehicle's make, model, and year. Sometimes the fuel gauge sender price might also be affected by the shape of your fuel tank.
To give you a broader overview of how the range might differ when it comes to replacing your vehicle's fuel gauge sender, here's a snippet from a larger database of fuel gauge sender replacement caused by vehicle type:
|Car type||Fuel Gauge Sender Replacement cost|
|2008 Dodge Caliber||$216.08|
|2010 Porsche 911||$535.45|
|2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350||$542.65|
|2011 Volkswagen Routan||$289.20|
|2007 Volkswagen Golf City||$305.82|
|2009 Audi A4||$324.40|
What are the symptoms of a bad fuel gauge sender?
Since the fuel gauge sender is a very sensitive component in your vehicle's fuel tank, it is very important to keep an eye on any bad fuel gauge sender's symptoms. Some of these symptoms might not directly indicate an issue with the bad fuel gauge because it might be related to another problem in your vehicle.
Inconsistent fuel gauge behavior
The first and clearest sign of a bad fuel gauge sender is when the fuel gauge does not behave properly, and the readings jump up and down within few minutes.
For example, if you've noticed that your fuel gauge shows 3/4, and after a couple of minutes, it's showing 1/2 tank. Then, the gauge might show a full tank; this is a clear indication of an issue with the fuel reading system.
Keep in mind that the issue might be directly related to the fuel gauge sender, and it could be related to something else.
Your best guess here is to reach out to a professional mechanic and have him inspect the vehicle to confirm the culprit.
Your fuel gauge shows an empty tank all the time
In some scenarios, about fuel gauge sender might cause the fuel gauge to show an empty tank all the time. In that case, it seems like the sender was separated from the arm, which sends the signal to your fuel gauge.
Your fuel gauge shows a full tank all the time
Although this is not very common, there might be a situation where you see that your vehicle's fuel level is not dropping at all, even if you drive the car for a long time.
If that's what you're seeing, then the resistor has the issue and provides a wrong clustered signal to your gauge to make it show a full read only.
It's not safe to see the vehicles feel level full all the time because your tank might get too much fuel without you knowing it. Thus, you might get stuck in nowhere without enough fuel to get your vehicle going.
How to test a fuel sending unit?
It is very important to confirm that your fuel gauge reading problem is coming from the fuel sender before performing any repairs.
There are certain tests you can perform to check for a faulty or bad fuel sending unit.
Using an OBD2 scanner
One of the quickest ways to check for any fuel sending unit errors is using an OBD2 scanner. This scanner helps read and clear out any errors from your vehicle's computer and then translated them into a code. Here are some of the common OBD2 codes that indicate an issue with the fuel sending unit:
- P0460 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Malfunction
- P0461 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
- P0462 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Low Input
- P0463 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit High Input
- P0464 Fuel Level Sensor Circuit Intermittent
In some advanced OBD2 scanners, you might get suggestions about replacement costs and specific parts to purchase.
Take a look at the fuel gauge fuses
Sometimes you are fuel gauge reading might not be directly related to the fuel gauge sender itself. A common reason would be burnt fuel gauge fields. Review your vehicle's owner’s manual and detect where these fuses are located.
Take a look at these fuses and check for any signs of a burnt fuse. If you identify any of them, you can reach out to your professional mechanic and have him replace the faulty fuse to get your vehicle back to normal.
Check the entire sending units using an ohm
Another convenient and accurate method that can help you determine any vehicle fuel gauge sender issues is using the ohms method.
To do so, you need to remove the entire fuel-sending unit outside of the fuel tank. Depending on your vehicle's type, you might need to empty the fuel tank first before reaching out to the sending unit.
If you can't remove the fuel sending units, you might need to refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual so you can remove it safely without causing any damages or hurting yourself.
Look at the unit and see any signs of broken arms or corrosions on the different components. It is not very rare to deal with the corroded sending unit due to the breeze or any darts that made their way to your vehicle's fuel tank.
Using a multimeter, set the ohms settings of your fuel sending units. It is important to understand the correct resistance from your vehicle’s owner’s manual before reset it using the multimeter.
Connect your multimeter to the voltage pin of your sending in it. As you're connecting the pin, try to spin the arm and see how the ohms respond on your multimeter.
If you have confirmed that the sending unit performs as expected, then the problem itself might be related to their wiring issues. On the other hand, if the home did not change as you're swinging or spinning the arm, then the few sending it is completely failed.
How do you replace a fuel gauge sending unit?
If your diagnosis indicated a faulty fuel gauge sender, it is time now to place it. Many people found it useful to learn how to replace their own vehicle fuel gauge sender to save on labor costs.
It is very important to make sure that you're comfortable enough to replace it yourself without causing any damage is. Automotive experts suggest that any DIYs do not work the first time. Therefore, you don't want to test and experience your vehicle, especially if it's pricey.
We will focus this section on replacing the entire fuel gauge unit instead of replacing the sender itself.
Once you're ready to replace the fuel gauge unit, you can follow these steps:
- If you did not already locate the fuel sender unit in the previous section, you need to refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual to determine Its setting.
- Once you located the center unit, you need to release any pressure in the fuel tank. Releasing the pressure is a step that you need to follow based on the advice in your vehicle's owner’s manual.
- Do not attempt to perform any repairs when your fuel tank electrical connections are connected; ensure to detach them before proceeding.
- Using a clean towel, ensure that you cleaned any contamination's around your plug area within your fuel tank
- If there is any retaining ring, use a nonferrous towel to remove it out
- Remove the old fuel sending units along with their gasket and O ring
- Before installing the new fuel sending units, compared them to the old ones and made sure that you purchased the right one. You can also refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual to get a detailed description of the sending unit you need to install.
- Insert the new sending unit along with its new gasket and O-ring. The gasket must be aligned perfectly between the tank and the sending units
- Put back the retaining ring; some vehicles might not have it, so follow your vehicles owner’s manual
- Connect any electrical wires that you've previously disconnected from the fuel tank
- Test the vehicle and see if there are any existing signs of a bad fuel gauge sending unit
The fuel gauge sender is a crucial component of your vehicle's fuel system. It is responsible for sending a signal to the fuel gauge indicating the level of fuel in your fuel tank.
Without a perfectly running fuel gauge sender, you will not get the right reading from the fuel gauge.
Maintaining a fuel gauge is in good condition to prevent dealing with unwanted situations.
Replacing the fuel sender can cost between $200 and $800 depending on your vehicle's make, model, and year.
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