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Buick's Gas Gauge is Woefully Inaccurate

GM vehicles have a problem with defective gas gauges that leave owners wondering just how much fuel is left in their tank. The gauge goes a little whacko once the tank is less than half full, with owners saying it sticks in place or bounces around.

The problem has been attributed to over 30 GM models, including the Enclave, Park Avenue, Regal, and Verano.

Cluster Failure, Defective Sensor, or Both?

For higher mileage vehicles, the fuel gague issue may be part of a larger instrument cluster failure. As the cluster ages, the drive motors operating the gauges burn out. If this is the case you’d likely see other gauges, like the speedometer and engine temp, also act strangely.

A defective fuel level sensor is a more likely culprit. Each fuel tank contains a level sensor that can corrode over time.

Government Investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into “defective fuel gauges” back in May of 2011. At the time, the investigation was focused on the Buick Rainier, as well as the GMC Envoy, and Saab 9-7X.

“Of the 668 complaints, 58 incidents were alleged to result in a vehicle stall,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its defect investigations summary. “Of the 58 stalling incidents, 43 complaints reported stalling because the fuel level reading indicated more fuel availability than what is actually in the fuel tank.” “One complaint alleged a vehicle crash after the vehicle stalled while exiting the interstate, became disabled and was struck from behind.”

The investigation never amounted to a recall because NHTSA didn’t deem it to be a “safety issue.” Apparently I don’t understand the meaning of safety:

“safety: the condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury, or loss”[3]

Nope, I understand it perfectly. It’s NHTSA which needs a vocabulary lesson.

Where This Problem is Likely to Occur

Model Gen Years PainRank
Enclave Gen 1 2008–2017 18.27
Park Avenue Gen 2 1997–2005 1.56
Regal Gen 4 1997–2004 3.41
Verano Gen 1 2012–2016 7.2

Story Timeline

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OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint

  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify the CAS

  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA

  4. Contact Buick

    Buick Support

    P.O. Box 33136 Detroit MI 48232-5136 USA

    This site is not affiliated with Buick.