Question about 2002 Kia Rio

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Gas gauge will drop to empty and then go back up. Happens every so often and I know car is full of gas

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  • Anonymous Aug 23, 2008

    2005 Kia Rio gas gauge has incorrect reading. Gas gauge reads well below E however. filled tank with only 5 gallons of gas. Watched fuel gauge after 45 miles and it reads 3/4 tank of fuel remaining. Will replace sending unit next week and report findings.

  • Anonymous Mar 23, 2014

    fuel gauge dropping fast

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  • Kia Master
  • 5,568 Answers

If you are lucky, it is only an intermittent connector between the sender and gauge.
It will take some wire chasing if you want to try this first.

Most of the level senders (sensors) are primitive wire-wound resistors on an arc-shaped insulator.
The level change is is detected by a change of resistance which in turn varies the current passing through either an analog meter or a sensing resistor whose voltage drop is measured and displayed digitally.

The resistor type is not very reliable since it would equate to turning a volume control back and forth on an analog radio continuously which would wear it out pretty quick.

A high resistance normally is interpreted as an empty tank; therefore, an intermittent contact in the sender or in a connector will be understood as an empty tank too.
If you can watch it without wrecking your car, you will probably see that the gauge (if analog) goes way under the 'E' whereby a truly empty tank would go only gently down.

Replacing the sender is not tough, but getting to it may be a pain.

Posted on Jul 09, 2008

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