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Questions and Answers

Pontiac Sunfire Fuel Gauge Readings

Q. Hi Vincent, I just have a quick question regarding fuel gauges. I drive a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire. I've noticed that if I go on a long drive, say 150 kilometers, that the needle hardly budges. If I do 4 or 5 small trips totaling only a few kilometers, the needle seems to drop a little bit every time I restart the car.

Pontiac Sunfire Fuel Gauge Readings

I know the car isn't guzzling gas since it recently passed an emissions test with flying colors.

My old 1991 Dodge Shadow used to show the same behavior in the fuel gauge, only much more pronounced. That car had everything wrong with it but it just kept running till one day it sprung a big oil leak and the engine seized. Is it normal for fuel gauges to behave this way?

I've been driving old clunkers for the last 10 years or so, so now that I have a good condition car I'm not sure how things are supposed to react.


A. Most newer cars guages are "buffered" meaning they should not bounce around in actual time of the gas sloshing around. The ECM or BCM will read the level and send it's findings to the cluster/guage and it should be slow in response to the fuel sloshing.

This year car actually has had problems with the level sensor due to fuel eating away at the unit. It can give you fast readings or worse yet, inaccurate readings. The fix would be to drop the tank and replace the level sensor or the complete fuel pump module.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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