When to Check Your MINI for a Faulty Fuel Gauge
Posted on March 15, 2020 by Keith Cox
As a MINI driver, you know all the great things that come with driving your car, from punchy acceleration, to practical design features, and years of motoring heritage. What you might not know are some of the common part failures associated with MINI. Of course, it is important to note that common part failures do not detract from an overall brand, as no car manufacturer is without their foibles. For MINI, the 2 most common problems are clutch issues and faults with the fuel system, most commonly the fuel gauge. In this article, we will look at the latter of the two, discussing what the fuel gauge does, why it fails, how you can tell failure has occurred, and where you can go for trusted repairs.
The Role of the Fuel Gauge
The fuel gauge can also be called the fuel gauge sender or the fuel gauge sender unit. It is a component that resides inside the gas tank of cars, including your MINI. It floats in the fuel inside the tank and provides information regarding the fuel gauge to the fuel level gauge dial on your dashboard, which allows you to tell how much fuel you have left in the tank. The gauge itself is made of a float, arm, and resistor that changes according to the fuel level.
The Causes of Fuel Gauge Failure
The fuel gauge sender and the fuel level gauge rely on each other to work correctly. This means that if one side fails, the other will fail too. Luckily, the fuel gauge system is quite simple, meaning that failure can only occur for a limited set of reasons:
Failure of Sending Unit
This is the most common cause of failure. It usually happens due to part wear and will result in incorrect fuel levels being reported.
The fuel gauge is electronic, so when issues occur in the circuits, such as a loose connection or corrosion, failure will occur.
Failure of Fuel Gauge Level
When the internal circuits become faulty, the gas gauge level can fail, which results in the dial only being able to display a set range of gas levels.
Signs of Failure
Fuel gauge failure may present itself in 3 different ways, meaning that identifying problems is usually very straightforward. To make things easier we’ve listed these three symptoms below:
1. Erratic Fuel Gauge Level
Pay attention to the fuel gauge on your dashboard, as often, early signs of failure will occur with the dial. You’ll notice it starts to behave erratically. This is usually because the fuel gauge sender has developed faults which is causing it to send irregular or infrequent data to the dial. This will cause it to suddenly change levels and/or give a false reading.
2. Fuel Level Gauge Gets Stuck on Empty
The second most common symptoms of failure occurs when the fuel level gauge stays on empty, no matter if you have a full tank of gas. This is caused by problems with the float of the sender, as it can become detached from the arm, causing resistor failure. This will cause the system to assume that the tank is empty.
3. Fuel Level Gauge is Always at Full
This symptom is the least common of the three. It occurs when the gauge always reads at full, regardless of the actual fuel level. This is indicative of resistor failure. It needs to be fixed promptly, as it can cause you to run empty unexpectedly.
Fixing a Faulty Fuel Gauge
It is important to know that your fuel gauge sender isn’t looked at as part of standard automotive servicing, which is why knowing the signs of failure is so important. Therefore, if you suspect your MINI’s fuel gauge is on the fritz, you need to be proactive and bring your car in for diagnostic work.
At Keith Cox Autobahn of Bellingham, WA, we’re passionate about MINIs. We love these sporty, versatile cars and always want to make sure they are in perfect running order. Because we are experts in caring for all models of MINI, we know all their foibles as well as their unique parts and systems. This means that we can get to the bottom of your MINI problem quickly, saving you both time and money. Call us today for servicing.