, Salem, MA


July 5, 2014

Auto Scanner: Reader shares insight on gas gauge issue

Q: I read your column this past Saturday and noticed the article about the Trailblazer with the gas gauge problem. I am the owner of a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer, and I received a letter from GM in regard to the fuel level sensor. The symptoms described in the letter from GM sound very similar to the problem this person is having with their vehicle. The letter states that this repair will be done at a GM dealer free of charge as long as the vehicle is within 10 years of the in service date and has less than 120,000 miles. I was thinking this person might want to give a GM dealer a call and see if their vehicle is covered under this program. No need to pay for the repair out of pocket if it is covered by GM.

A: Lately, General Motors has had quite a spree of recalls. The majority of the recalls are for ignition switch problems. By all means, vehicle owners with a fuel gauge problem should indeed call their dealer to see if there is an outstanding recall. Thanks so much for your input.

Q: Back 10 to 20 years ago, there was an opinion that the lower priced nondescript gasoline companies’ gasoline products were of a lesser grade and not necessarily good for your car. Has this now changed? Are all gasoline products equal today? Is there any long-term effect on the vehicle using one compared to the other?

A: For the most part, all fuels come from the same tank. The difference is the additive package. It’s the additives that make the difference between the products. Some fuels have more antiknock chemicals. Some fuel has more cleaners. You will also notice that the ethanol content varies from company to company, as well. I will caution you to never refuel your car at a gas station while the tanker truck is there dropping a load of gas. The reason being is the silt at the bottom of the underground tank is being stirred up and may enter in to your vehicle’s fuel tank. Also, you may want to keep the refueling nozzle at only three-quarters open. When refueling full nozzle, you are sending a portion of the fuel you are paying for back to the gas company’s underground tank by way of excess fumes being recycled. There are apps for your smartphone and websites on the computer that will tell you where the best price for gas can be purchased in your area. To travel several miles though for less than a 10-cent-per-gallon difference doesn’t make a lot of sense. Think of the fuel you will waste getting to the lower-price gas and then to return home. Do the math, and it may seem “fuelish.”

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