Has the fuel gauge in your 2003-2006 Chevy Trailblazer stopped giving you accurate readings? Does it tell you you’ve got half a tank one minute, a quarter tank the next, then a full tank half an hour later?
Well, you’re not the only one. Over the past few years, more and more owners of Trailblazers and other GM cars and trucks have had trouble with faulty fuel gauges as well as other instruments.
Most often the failure of a fuel gauge in your Trailblazer will be caused by one of two things:
Fuel level sensor
If you were to dissect your fuel tank, you would find inside a fuel pump and a fuel sending unit bathed in fuel and doing, well, pretty much what you would expect something called a pump or a sending unit to be doing. But built in with these two indispensable bits of machinery is another little something called the fuel level sensor, and this is where the arrangement gets buggy.
Fuel level sensors, which sense how much fuel you have and send that information to the fuel gauge in your instrument cluster, are, most tragically, prone to failure. When this happens, it is left to you to try to estimate (or more often guess) how much fuel you actually have left in your tank because the gauge is bouncing around like popcorn.
If your fuel gauge is behaving erratically but the rest of your instrument cluster seems to be functioning normally, it may be best to visit your local mechanic to get your fuel gauge problem diagnosed.
Fuel level gauge
The second and, perhaps fortunately, more common cause of Chevy Trailblazer fuel gauge failure is a fault in the instrument cluster. This problem is a result of defective drive motors that were used on the circuit boards of instrument clusters in some 30 or so different GM models. Though this was covered for a time under warranty and recall agreements, few vehicles still fall within the 7 year, 70,000 mile limit.
The fortunate part of this is that it is a fairly straightforward problem that is relatively inexpensive to fix, if you find the right service.
How Do I Tell Which Problem I Have?
If any gauges besides your fuel gauge have also failed, it’s pretty likely that your problem is an instrument cluster one. In that case, you can simply remove the instrument panel (we can give you detailed instructions on this) and send it to us – we’ll pay the shipping both ways – and we can replace the motors with new ones that won’t break down.
If, however, you haven’t had any trouble with any of your other gauges, though you may benefit from a cluster rebuild, you may want to have a local mechanic diagnose the problem first.
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