this may be a dumb question, but I know nothing about car so here goes...

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Rebecca B., Oct 15, 2006.

  1. Rebecca B.

    Rebecca B. Guest

    I just bought a used 2000 Subaru Legacy in February and I was
    wondering: when should the fuel light (the one that comes on when your
    gas tank gets low) come on? I have never seen mine come on in the six
    or so months I have owned my car and I have run it down to 2-3 gallons
    (I have a 16.9 gallon tank once ran it so low that I put 17 gallons
    in). Is there anyway to get this checked out without running my car out
    of gas?

    Also, my fuel gauge is very, very slow to move to "full" when I fill up
    my car, could these issues be related in some way, or am I making a
    mountian out of a mole hill?
    Rebecca B., Oct 15, 2006
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  2. Rebecca B.

    Mr_Ed Guest

    My 05 Forester light comes on when I get to 2-3 gals. My gauge moves
    slowly to full as it did in my 03 Forester.
    Mr_Ed, Oct 15, 2006
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  3. It comes on at 10 litres (2 3/4 US gallons) from empty; tank (UK spec) holds
    60 litres (16.5 US gallons), if you're putting in less than 13 3/4 gallons
    to fill it right up then you're not getting low enough for the light to come
    HTH, Martin
    Martin Whybrow, Oct 15, 2006
  4. My moms `95 Legacy L is the same way. In all of the past 11 years of
    ownership, I've had that car down to where I swore I was on fumes... and yet
    no gas light. However in my `01 Outback Wagon Ltd, I've gotten the light on
    numerous times and with the 16.9 gallon tank, I've filled it up with 16
    Bradley Walker, Oct 15, 2006
  5. Rebecca B.

    Rebecca B. Guest

    Thanks, everyone. I'm glad to know that there isn't anything wrong
    with my car and it is my fear of running out of gas that prevents me
    from seeing the fuel light. ;)
    Rebecca B., Oct 15, 2006
  6. Rebecca B.

    nobody > Guest

    I doubt that the light is an old-style incandescent bulb. It's probably
    an LED, and those almost never go bad. That would have been the
    old-school answer, bad bulb!

    Sounds like a bad fuel (level) sender. I did about the same, bought a
    used 2000 OBWL that showed fuel dropping to empty and the low fuel lamp
    coming on as well) with lots left in the tank. I got a $500 reduction on
    the price for that tho..

    There's two senders and it appears that the two work together, so
    replacing both is the repair. I paid $330 for parts and labor on mine
    and all is well.

    I could have been misinformed on the "replace both senders" deal.

    As for the "slow move to full", that seems normal on the new senders on
    mine. It takes about 2 minutes to move up (from empty) while driving and
    longer when sitting. The top 1/4 tank takes almost all of that.
    nobody >, Oct 15, 2006
  7. Rebecca B.

    Mr_Ed Guest

    My gauge is slow to move to full in my '05 Forester, as it was in my '03
    Forester. I usually have 2-3 gal left when my fuel light comes on, good
    for 50 miles or so.
    Mr_Ed, Oct 15, 2006
  8. Rebecca B.

    kaplan3jiim Guest

    The light...
    In my '97, I've seen the light come on twice in 10 years. Recently
    put in 13.8 gallons - no light. Without looking, seems like the
    manual said it should come on at 2 gallons. I wish this one was part
    of the ignition start up test.

    The gage...
    I have to go by miles elapsed, because the gage gets to E much too
    fast. I probably have 100+ miles easily left when it first reaches E.
    Once on a 90 mile trip, it dipped notably below E and then 50 miles
    later when I got home it was back a little above E (all on level
    roads), and still no warning light and only took around 13 gallons.

    kaplan3jiim, Oct 15, 2006
  9. Rebecca B.

    KLS Guest

    Well, we found out about ours by running the car (1999 Legacy OBW) out
    of gas. :) Fortunately, it was uphill about a tenth of a mile from a
    gas station, and I was able to push that baby fast enough to get
    enough momentum to get through the traffice light and coast into the
    bay. We had to replace the fuel sending units along with the fuel
    pump (about $500 at the dealer). Make sure the fuse for your light
    isn't blown (unlikely); that's the first check, and I did check for
    that when I noticed the low fuel light seemed never to come on.
    Can't answer this question, but wouldn't surprise me if this problem
    disappears when you replace the fuel sending units.
    KLS, Oct 15, 2006
  10. Rebecca B.

    bugalugs Guest

    There would be no real *need* to replace the sender unit. If you've had
    no problems for 8 months and you and are aware of how it works, and can
    live with it, then why do it?? The $500 is better of in your pocket
    bugalugs, Oct 16, 2006
  11. Rebecca B.

    JohnO Guest

    My 99 works just like the OP described. I have run the gas so low that
    it stalls going around corners, never seen the low gas light in the 2.5
    years I've had the car. When that needle gets on the E mark, I need to
    be close to a station.

    I'll be damned if I'm going to spend good money for a light to tell me
    that that gauge is reading low. I can see the gauge just fine. :)

    -John O
    JohnO, Oct 16, 2006
  12. Rebecca B.

    Edward Hayes Guest

    My Forester takes maybe 5 minutes to register full when I fill the
    tank from 1/4. The gage is dampened to prevent sloshing fuel to move
    the needle around.
    Edward Hayes, Oct 17, 2006
  13. Hi,

    There's a cheap and dirty "old timer's trick" to finding out WHEN the
    light will go in, IF it will (as in blown bulb, fuse, etc.): get a small
    gas can (one or two gallons, depending on how far from a station you
    might get during this exercise), and simply run the tank down until
    either the light comes on or you run out of gas. Then either drive
    directly to the station, or add your gallon or two and then drive there,
    and see what it takes to fill it up. (Don't forget to factor in any fuel
    you added, for example, if you added 1 gallon, and it takes 14 more to
    fill the tank, you're looking at about a 15 gal fill, so you had a shade
    less than 2 gal left in your 16.9 gal tank.)

    Personally, I use the trip meter on any of my cars that have 'em, or
    just the odometer referenced against the fuel purchase book in the glove
    box. Gas gauges are notorious for being inaccurate in my experience...

    Rick Courtright, Oct 18, 2006
  14. Rebecca B.

    Edward Hayes Guest

    My Forester S fuel light comes on when the needle is about "one"
    needle width below" the empty line. Like Carl said get a small gas can
    and go for it. My light come on at ~ 340 miles for my suburb type
    driving. Ed
    Edward Hayes, Oct 18, 2006
  15. Rebecca B.

    Edward Hayes Guest

    Is it possible that the lug nuts are bottoming out on the stud BEFORE
    the wheel is fully tight?
    Edward Hayes, Oct 18, 2006
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