FLUCTUATING FUEL GAUGE READINGS

  • Tiny
  • slehman81
  • 2004 Toyota Rav4
  • 125,000 miles

I have a 2004 2wd Toyota rav4, and recently my fuel gauge hasn't been cooperating. When I start my car up I can register a 1/2 tank. I will stop at the store, come out and start my car again and gauge will read between 1/4 and 1/2 tank. As I drive the gauge will slowly move up towards 1/2 tank line. I took it to my local Toyota dealer, and they said this was normal. Do I need to check my fuel sender? If so, what am I looking for? Thank you for any assistance

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:23 AM

13 Replies

  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 29,870 posts

When you have a full tank what happens?Does it ever read empty then pop up to 1/8 of a tank or higher?

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:33 AM
  • Tiny
  • slehman81
  • Member

When I fill up, the gauge will read full. I've never let it get too low.

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:38 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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  • 29,870 posts

It can bounce around a little the gauge I mean. But if it bounces around too much then I would be worried.

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:41 AM
  • Tiny
  • slehman81
  • Member

So its normal for it jump around, not drastically, but max like a 1/4 tank?

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:45 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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  • 29,870 posts

It shouldnt move a 1/4 of a tank fluction thats not normal.

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:51 AM
  • Tiny
  • slehman81
  • Member

Would the fuel sender be the culprit?

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:52 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 29,870 posts

Most likely the fuel destroys them plus they wear out over time. But without testing it cant tell you for sure. But I have replaced more fuel sending units then anything for gas gauges issues.

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 12:56 AM
  • Tiny
  • KHLow2008
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  • 41,994 posts

This should be more of a gauge than a sending unit issue. The needle is supposed to stay where it is when ignition is turned off but in this case it seems to have moved towards the empty direction.

The gauge moving back to where it is and operating normally when ignition is turned on or while engine is running indicates so.

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 4:51 AM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 29,870 posts

He said it slowly moves from a 1/4 to 1/2 while driving that sounds more like a sending unit then a gauge. But like I said before you would have to do some testing. The sending unit fails way more then any gauges I have seen fail.

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 4:59 AM
  • Tiny
  • KHLow2008
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  • 41,994 posts

For this gauge, the needle needs time to move up. If you top up the tank and turn the ignition switch on, it would take 10 seconds or more for it to reach the max position.

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012 AT 5:02 AM

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