The MINI brand is historically successful for their ingenuity in compact vehicles; they were the original brand to put fierce and tiny in the same description. Making cars since the 1950s, MINI is undoubtedly one of the most exciting brands on the market. However, even the most well designed and engineered vehicles experience common issues - one such issue is fuel gauge failure.
A faulty fuel gauge in a MINI is a common occurrence for some models specifically, but if you drive any MINI then it’s best to anticipate fuel gauge issues as a precautionary measure. There are a number of reasons why fuel gauges fail or become faulty, and it’s important to be able to pinpoint these underlying issues instead of simply treating symptoms. In this article, we’ll go over the most common problems that cause fuel gauges to fail.
Being aware of your fuel gauge and fuel consumption
Your fuel gauge is responsible for telling you when your gas is running low in your MINI. It’s a scary prospect getting stuck on the side of the road without fuel, but this can be avoided by remaining aware of your car’s fuel consumption. It’s generally helpful to know where your fuel level is, but it’s also important to pay attention to how the needle on the gauge moves down as you use gas – this can tell you if your MINI’s fuel gauge is working properly. Here are some telltale signs of a malfunctioning fuel gauge:
- The needle gets stuck at the full position
- The needle gets stuck at the empty position
- Fuel gauge behaves oddly and shifts positions at random
If you notice any of these signs in your MINI’s fuel gauge, it’s important not to wait to bring it in for an inspection and diagnosis. Being in a constant state of uncertainty of how much fuel you have in your car adds unnecessary stress to our already busy lives, and it can be dangerous as well.
What can cause your fuel gauge to fail?
While there are some perfectly harmless reasons for fuel gauge failure, other potential causes can pose a danger to drivers’ safety. Here are some of the most common issues that lead to fuel gauge failure:
Your car is laced with wiring all throughout, and it plays an important part in how your vehicle functions in many ways. Bad wiring is the cause of car fires all across the country, so it’s important to perform frequent inspections. However bad or damaged wiring can also cause your fuel gauge to fail – just another reason for routine maintenance.
One of the first things your trusted automotive shop will do when you come in with a failing fuel gauge is tested your car’s voltage. Using a special tool, they detect the current level of voltage powering the fuel gauge. This can help eliminate electrical components as the cause of the issue.
Sending unit failure
Your fuel gauge utilizes what’s called a sending unit, which is responsible for reporting the current level of fuel in the tank to the driver via the fuel gauge. If the sending unit malfunctions, the fuel gauge may behave erratically or get stuck in a fixed position.
Fuses need to be replaced rather frequently in certain cars, and they can often be the source of fuel gauge failure. Fuses help provide power to your gauge, and if they aren’t working properly, neither will your fuel gauge.
What you can do to prevent fuel gauge failure in your MINI
The MINI specialists here at Pete’s Auto Repair have addressed fuel gauge issues for drivers from all over the areas of Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, and San Francisco, CA. It can be concerning to never know how much fuel you have in your car exactly, and although modern MINIs are well designed, sometimes fuel gauge failure is an issue. If you have noticed that your MINI’s fuel gauge isn’t acting right, or you could have sworn you filled it with gas the other day and it’s suddenly reading as empty, please give us a call to schedule an inspection. It’s our mission to ensure your safety and keep your MINI running properly.
* Mini Cooper S image credit goes to: CasPhotography.