SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

December 28, 2013

Auto Scanner: Gas gauge malfunctioning in ’06 Trailblazer

Q: I have a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer LT 4WD. It has about 50,000 miles on it. It is no longer under warranty. I have recently begun having problems with the gas gauge (and also the digital display of mileage left before gas is needed). Both read empty (0 miles left — low fuel) when the tank has just been filled. In fact, the gauge reads empty for several miles after fill-up. Then, it will sporadically jump around between empty and full while I am driving around. It goes up and down all day long. It’s enough to make you crazy. So, I have no way of knowing when I actually need gas except to set the trip meter and fill up when I reach 200 miles. So, that is what I have been doing. Any idea what is causing this?

A: Most of your major repair facilities have scanners that link to your car’s computer. With this scanner, they will be able to monitor the signal from your fuel tank and also be able to emulate a signal to your instrument panel. This is how the problem is isolated. Expect to spend between one to one and a half hours for diagnostic costs to be able to nail down the problem. The cost of the repair itself, of course, is dependent on which component has the problem.

Q: I recently purchased a brand new 2009 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 with the 4.0 L V 6 (1GR-FE) engine this past September. Due to health issues, I have driven the vehicle only 275 miles in four months. My question is should the oil and filter be changed at this time? Any tips or suggestions concerning this vehicle would appreciated. Could you please explain what (1GR-FE) stands for?

A: If you use the car at all, you should minimally change the oil twice a year. My recommendation for the average driver who puts on between 10,000 to 12,000 miles is an oil change every 3,000 miles. Not only does it refresh the oil in your system for a cooler running engine, but it gives the technicians a chance to see any problems in its infancy. 1GR-FE is the designated code for your particular engine.

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