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