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How To Put Off Fixing A Broken Gas Gauge

Fuel level sending unit schematic

Sometimes, things on our car break and we just don't have the time or money to fix them right away. If they're non-critical items that can be put off, then at least the car can be used until a proper repair can be done. One of those non-critical items is the fuel gauge.

A user in our forum had an issue with the gas gauge in a Chevrolet van. Her problem was that she could not afford to fix it as a repair estimate from a garage was in the $700 range. Luckily, she could avoid having to make the repair as all the broken gauge was doing was inconvenience her in knowing how much gasoline was left in the tank. There are ways around that.

The trip meter on the odometer can be useful in this case. Simply fill the tank completely, set the trip meter to "0" and then stop to refill the tank every time it reaches about 200 miles. Nearly every car made will go at least that far, most far more, on a tank of fuel. It's a nice, safe number, though, because it is well under the normal range of a tank of fuel in most cars and vans and allows for idle time and other things that burn fuel without registering on the trip counter.

Mechanic Big Block 409 offers a similar solution, pushing it to 300 miles given the actual range of the Chevrolet Venture in question.

Finally, as Big Block also pointed out, shopping around for the parts and labor can save a lot of money. In this particular case, most of the repair costs were in labor, not parts. Replacing a fuel sending unit is a relatively easy undertaking that most competent DIY mechanics can do.