GM AFAIK has always used a fuel sender where more fuel equals more
resistance. Unplug the sender and the gauge pegs above full. This means
that every thing from the El Camino we once had up to current vehicles will
read too high if anything in the sender's circuit has a high resistance
including all connections, especially the ground for when the fuel pump and
sender share a ground.
They had a person on Car Talk who wanted to see how far his car could go
past "E." He claimed that for every car he got, he carried around an extra
couple of gallons of gas and then drove the car until it ran out, so he
could see how far past "E" he could could go. My main thought was - what a
stupid idea. Fuel gauges, even preceisely calabrated German ones, aren't
that precise, even if the gauge was perfect, driving conditions affect how
far you can go on the gas remaining past "E", and finally, only a fool rides
around with the tank on E. I suppose in an emergency you might need to
stretch things, but I beleive in filling up when convenient once my car gets
to around a quarter of a tank.
You can slice and dice this many ways, but knowing the accuracy of
your gas gauge is a good thing.
I agree going past "E" is carrying it too far.
But on road trips I often get close to "E." Just more efficient.
But I don't push it - not worth the worry.
One car I drove for years and the first time I went down a bit below
1/8, not real close to "E," it ran out of gas.
Wish I knew that before it happened.
I believe the article mentioned that there had been accidents because
of this inaccuracy with the GM units. I am led to believe that this is
considerably more than the normally expected error in these devices.
As you say, it isnt worth the worry to push the limits.
I know, for example, that when my car touches "E" and the warning
light comes on, I have about a gallon left. I try not to let it get that
low. But if that lower indication were not only a little inaccurate,
but varied unpredictably in its accuracy, then I would have a lot
more to worry about.
If you paid attention to your gas gauge reading when you filled up, and
looked up the size of your tank, you'd have a pretty good idea of how much
gas was left at that reading. No need to run the car out of gas to prove
that tere was gas left in the tank at "E".
The past few Fords I have owned have a light that comes on when the fule
level is "low." Based on how muich gas I added when the light came on, and
knowing the size of the fuel tank, it seems tat Ford was turning the light
on when you had enough gas to go around 50 miles (when the light came on).
Seems like a good target. My F150 and my old Fusion both had the miles to go
feature. I once got in a jam and let the F150 get to 5 miles to go. I was
able to add 36 gallons to a supposedly 36 gallon tank.....Now maybe the tank
still ahd a couple of gallons left, or not. I really don't need to know
that. I was uncomfortable just getting that close to E.
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