How to Reset a Fuel Gauge?

Knowing how to reset a fuel gauge is one of the essential skills you would have to learn in handling your car. The fuel gauge is one of the most significant components of a vehicle. It is responsible for indicating the amount of fuel remaining in the vehicle’s gas tank.

The fuel gauge functionality enables a car owner or a driver to understand the fuel consumption system of the car accurately. It ensures the possibility of knowing when the available fuel in your gas tank has been reduced to a minimal level so that you can refill.

Some fuel gauges have a digital or liquid crystal display, while others have an analog display. The fuel gauge component has the sending unit in the tank and the indicator on the dashboard. If a car’s fuel gauge is reading inaccurately, it is most likely traceable to a faulty sending unit.

Is your car’s fuel gauge not working accurately? If yes, this article would unveil the step-by-step guide on how you can reset it seamlessly.

how to reset fuel gauge

How Do I Test My Fuel Gauge?

It is not unnatural for your fuel gauge to malfunction. It could sometimes be due to the aging of your vehicle or maybe a bad sending unit.

One of the common experiences car owners have concerning their car’s fuel gauge malfunction is to find the gas gauge stuck on full or empty. If you ever experience this situation, you could first and foremost test your fuel gauge.

Follow the steps below to test your car’s fuel gauge.

Step 1: Ascertain whether all the wiring connections on the sender unit and the gauge are tight, clean, and dirt-free, as well as corrosion-free.

To check the wire connection on the sender unit, in most cases, it’s located beneath the back seat or trunk. You would have to lift the back seat or remove the trunk carpet.

Meanwhile, the wire connection on the back of the fuel gauge can be located below the dashboard. You can remove the instrument panel or remove the gauge from the dashboard.

Step 2: Turn on the ignition and turn it off repeatedly to note whether the needle moves or not. If it doesn’t move, you likely have to check the fuse. It is located beneath the hood or the dashboard. Then carefully ascertain the fuse that controls the fuel gauge.

If the fuse is bad, kindly change it and ensure the correct amperage rating for the fuse replacement.

Step 3: Connect the terminal on the back of the fuel gauge and the jumper wire on the ignition switch. After that, turn on the vehicle. If the gauge works, then replace the faulty wiring between the ignition switch and the fuel gauge.

Step 4: Ground the fuel gauge by soldering and clipping the jumper wire’s end to the grounding terminal of the fuel gauge and the other end of the jumper wire to a clean contact point on the car’s frame. After that, turn on the vehicle. Once the gauge works, replace the grounding wire of the faulty fuel gauge.

Step 5: Use the instruction in step 4 above to ground the sender unit with the jumper wire. You can ground the jumper unit by fixing the jumper wire to the vehicle’s frame or the fuel tank’s exterior. Once the gauge works, replace the sender unit’s grounding wire.

Step 6: Finally, disconnect the wire connection between the fuel gauge and the sender unit. Then turn on the car. If the gauge reads full, the problem is likely with the sender unit or the vehicle’s in-tank mechanism. If the fuel gauge consistently reads empty, you would have to replace it because it is faulty.

For virtual guidance, you can check out this 3 minutes video.

How to Reset a Fuel Gauge Step-by-Step Guide

If you notice an inaccurate measure or display of the amount of fuel in your gas tank by the fuel gauge, it is most likely that there is either software or an electronic malfunction that involves your car’s fuel gauge.

The primary solution to an inaccurate fuel gauge is a reset. The procedure for resetting a car’s fuel gauge is usually prescribed by its manufacturer in the vehicle’s handbook or manual. However, the procedures are the same for most vehicles. Mercedes fuel gauge reset is not an exception.

If you are asking, “How do you reset the fuel gauge on a Nissan?” the steps unveiled in this guide can also be of help to you.

reset fuel gauge toyota

The following steps will guide you in resetting your fuel gauge.

  • Turn the vehicle’s ignition switch to the “ON” position.
  • Press the “Trip/Odo” button to put the Odometer into “ODO” mode.
  • Turn the vehicle’s ignition off.
  • Press and hold the “Trip/Odo” button. Turn the ignition switch on and hold the “Trip/Odo” switch for about two seconds. Then, release the “Trip/Odo” button, press it again (do this three or four times), and finally hold it for about four to five seconds until the leveling information shows on the Odometer. Then release the “Trip/Odo” button.
  • Once again, press and hold the “Trip/Odo” button for a while until the Odometer displays “1”. This indicates the commencement process of the reset.
  • Lastly, when the Odometer display moves back to normal, release the “Trip/Odo” button because the reset has just been completed.


How do you fix an inaccurate fuel gauge?

To fix an inaccurate fuel gauge, follow the procedure below.

  • Turn the ignition of the car on and off several times, and then check if the fuel gauge needle moves. If the needle refuses to move, it indicates that the fuse is blown and needs replacement. 
  • Test the fuel tank’s sending unit grounding wire.
  • Disconnect the wiring of the sending unit of the gauge and check the fuel gauge. If the gas gauge shows full, it means the sending unit is bad and should be replaced. If it shows empty, it means the fuel gauge is bad and should be replaced.
  • Ascertain that the wiring is appropriately connected to the back of the gauge by removing the dashboard to have access to the instrument cluster.

Furthermore, connect the negative jumper wire to the car’s frame and the positive one to the car’s fuel gauge’s grounding terminal to check the fuel gauge’s grounding wire. Turn on the ignition and check if the fuel gauge is working or not. If the fuel gauge works, then replace the grounding wire.

Why is my fuel gauge not accurate?

If you find out that your car’s fuel gauge is not accurate, it is most likely that the sending unit is bad. The sending unit is responsible for communicating the amount of fuel in the tank to the fuel gauge display on the dashboard.

Is there a fuse for the fuel gauge?

Yes. The fuse box of the fuel gauge is either located beneath the driver’s side dashboard or in the car’s engine compartment. You can check your vehicle manufacturer’s manual to ascertain where your car’s fuel gauge fuse is located to replace a fuse that is blown if you are facing this situation.

Q: How do you know if your fuel gauge is broken?

The following are signs to tell whether your gas gauge is broken:

  • Erratic behavior of the fuel gauge: The irregular behavior of the fuel gauge display on the dashboard is a sign of a broken fuel gauge. It could read a particular position and shift drastically in a moment.
  • Fuel gauge stuck on full: A display of the fuel gauge reading full permanently is another sign to know your car’s fuel gauge is broken. It can be seen on the fuel gauge display on your car’s dashboard
  • Fuel gauge stuck on empty: When the float of the gauge breaks from the arm, it automatically shows empty on the fuel gauge display on the dashboard.

Can you drive with a bad fuel level sensor?

Yes, if you want to do so. However, the challenge is that as the fuel level sensor gets worse, it can result in your car’s engine stalling, thereby making driving very difficult. Therefore, if you have a bad fuel level sensor in your vehicle, consult your auto mechanic to fix it as soon as possible to avoid its danger.

How much does it cost to fix a stuck gas gauge?

The cost of fixing a stuck gas gauge could vary depending on the make or model of your car. However, it could cost you between $250 and $800 to fix a stuck gas gauge in your vehicle if you experience this situation.

Final Words

Your car’s fuel gauge is as important as the other vital components. Therefore, you need to ensure its maintenance or repair anytime you experience a challenge with it. In other words; you should know how to reset a fuel gauge.

You can only determine the amount of fuel in the gas tank with the help of your car’s fuel gauge. A bad fuel gauge could mislead you until you finally experience being stranded in a place where it may be a problem to get a gas refill for your vehicle.

So, to avoid unnecessary headaches, kindly consult your auto mechanic and fix your car’s faulty fuel gauge. It would be cost-effective if you can perform the fuel gauge troubleshooting yourself with the step-by-step guide provided in this article.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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