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Fuel Level

 
Old 04-21-2019, 03:25 PM
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Fuel Level

Does anyone know exactly how the fuel level is measured? The low fuel indicator came on so I stopped at the nearest station and filled up just 1 gallon (on a trip and wanted to refill at home where gas was cheaper). However, the needle and the estimated range did not change at all. After a few miles more of driving, I got scared and turned around back to the gas stations and refilled another gallon at a different station. I was thinking maybe that one pump was defective and didn't give me any gas. After this second fill-up, there was still no change in the needle or estimated range figure. This time I just drove on and continued hoping after a while it would "remeasure" fuel level. It never did. I'm now at my parents' house with the needle just touching the red and the range at 20 miles. I'll refill in the morning to make sure the car tells me I have enough to make it back home.

Assuming I really did add 2 gallons into my tank, I don't understand how this is acceptable for an Acura to not know how much is in my fuel tank. Would the range go into the negative if I kept driving? Do I need to fill to a certain point before something triggers a "remeasuring" of the fuel level? I come from a Honda Fit, and the needle responded accordingly to every partial fill-up.
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Old 04-21-2019, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dennis0 View Post
Does anyone know exactly how the fuel level is measured? The low fuel indicator came on so I stopped at the nearest station and filled up just 1 gallon (on a trip and wanted to refill at home where gas was cheaper). However, the needle and the estimated range did not change at all. After a few miles more of driving, I got scared and turned around back to the gas stations and refilled another gallon at a different station. I was thinking maybe that one pump was defective and didn't give me any gas. After this second fill-up, there was still no change in the needle or estimated range figure. This time I just drove on and continued hoping after a while it would "remeasure" fuel level. It never did. I'm now at my parents' house with the needle just touching the red and the range at 20 miles. I'll refill in the morning to make sure the car tells me I have enough to make it back home.

Assuming I really did add 2 gallons into my tank, I don't understand how this is acceptable for an Acura to not know how much is in my fuel tank. Would the range go into the negative if I kept driving? Do I need to fill to a certain point before something triggers a "remeasuring" of the fuel level? I come from a Honda Fit, and the needle responded accordingly to every partial fill-up.
The range will get down near zero while the tank still has a reserve left like most other cars.The TLX probably has much larger reserve than a honda fit so one gallon may not be enough to move the needle on the TLX. Sounds like normal behavior. TLX has approx 17 gallon tank, Honda Fit just 10 gallons. From my own experience if I fill up when the light is on it usually takes about 14 gallons even though the range is very low so i would guess there are close to 2 gallons or so left when the light first comes on. I don't want to find out exactly how much is left and normally fill before fuel light alerts.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:29 PM
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The fuel range is an approximation and may not adjust quickly after you do a partial/minimal fillup like you did. When you get the low fuel notification, there's a touch over two gallons left. You had nothing to worry about unless you were more than 50 miles from a gas station. If you're worried, next time just fill up all the way instead of filling up partially.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:30 PM
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Okay, I couldn't settle with not knowing why the car seemed to be dumber than my old Fit, so I decided to experiment a bit in the morning to try to understand what was happening. I added 3 more gallons and turned on my car. Voila! The needle jumped to about 1/3 full and range increased by 120 miles. This doesn't really correspond to a mere addition of 3 gallons though, so let's recap. My fuel light turned on yesterday, I refueled 1 gallon with about 60 miles remaining, no change so I added another gallon, again no change but I drove on til my remaining range was 20 miles and needle barely touched red, I estimate a gallon was burned, this morning I added 3 gallons. So there's a net of 4 gallons added to tank, which just about corresponds to the needle position and range increase after I added gas this morning.

Here is what I think is going on. The floater in the tank that measures the fuel level bottoms out, and then the computer takes over to move the needle and estimate the remaining range through indirect methods. You have to refuel enough gas to move the float in order to move the needle and have the computer recalculate your range. Any less and it won't detect any addition of fuel. Based on my experience, I'd say the float bottoms out at 4 gallons or more left in the tank.

Just a conjecture, though. I may be totally wrong on how it works.
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