2 Strange Reasons Your Silverado May Be Having Fuel Gauge Problems

silverado fuel gauge problems

Having trouble with the fuel gauge on your 2003-2006 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra? You’re not alone.  In recent years, we’ve read dozens of reports from Silverado and Sierra owners whose fuel gauges have just up and quit.  The result, of course, has been a lot of unnecessary stress and more than a few drivers getting stranded alongside the road because they didn’t realize they were running out of fuel.  Why is this happening?  Here are the two most common causes.

Now, the Silverado and the Sierra are, for practical purposes, basically the same truck, which is why we’re discussing them together here.

Silverado (and Sierra) Fuel Level Sensor

If you were to send a tiny camera deep inside your fuel tank, you would find your fuel pump and fuel sending unit, swimming in fuel and quietly doing the jobs their names would suggest.  Embedded among this happy apparatus, you would also find a fuel level sensor, which, also, would be doing the job its name suggests. Unless, as is all-too-common, it wasn’t.  In that case, and likely in your case, if you’re reading this article, the fuel level sensor has just gone out.  It has stopped sensing the fuel level or stopped letting the fuel gauge in your instrument cluster know what it’s sensing, leaving you to try to guesstimate how much fuel you have.  When this happens you’re left guessing how many miles you have left on your tank of fuel while your fuel level gauge bounces around from empty to ½ a tank  to ¼ of a tank to full and back again.  If this is the trouble you’re having, you’ll need to get your truck to a local mechanic for diagnosis and repair.

Silverado and Sierra Fuel Gauge Problems

The second and what seems to be the more common cause of Silverado fuel gauge or Sierra fuel gauge trouble is a faulty instrument cluster.  In fact, this is,unfortunately, a  common problem among most GM vehicles built from 2003-2006 – various gauges in the instrument clusters of these cars and trucks tend to fail as the mileage starts to get into the “high” zone.  This problem is caused by defective drive motors that were used on the circuit boards of these instrument clusters.  The defective motors have been linked to more than 30 different GM models and, though they have sometimes been covered by warranty or recall agreements, this is generally only the case for vehicles with less than 70 or 80 thousand miles on them.  This is often before they hit the “high mileage” zone where they tend to start experiencing problems.

How Do I Tell Which Problem I Have?

If your fuel gauge has stopped working and another gauge in your instrument cluster has stopped working, then you would probably be best off just having your instrument cluster rebuilt.  This is the less expensive of the repairs and something you are likely to have to do eventually anyway.  If only your fuel level gauge has stopped moving or is giving erratic readings, then it will be best to have the problem diagnosed by a local mechanic to determine if the fuel sending unit is the issue.

Who Can I Contact For Instrument Cluster Repair?

Contact Fred at Dr.Speedometer or call toll free 1-800-405-1056.