RICK KRANZ

Why the case of inaccurate fuel-gauge readings on GM models is no surprise

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.

What's the reason for the inaccurate fuel-gauge readings in some General Motors vehicles?

I had a similar problem with four older GM vehicles. My daughters and wife knew the fuel gauge was useless on these vehicles and relied on the trip odometer to determine when to refuel, usually around 200 miles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a safety investigation of as many as 865,000 GM SUVs from the 2005 to 2007 model years after complaints about inaccurate fuel-gauge readings led to stalling and one accident.

Automotive News posted the story last week.

NHTSA is looking at 2005-07 Buick Rainiers, Chevrolet TrailBlazers, GMC Envoys and Saab 9-7Xs. Additionally, the agency is investigating 2005-06 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL models.

The agency has received 668 complaints about inaccurate fuel gauge readings in those SUVs. Of that number, 58 people said the vehicle stalled, meaning that the SUV ran out of gas.

GM says it is cooperating with NHTSA.

I certainly can feel the frustration of those SUV owners. My family had this experience with the 1994 Chevrolet Astro, 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier, 2000 Chevrolet Impala, and 2001 GMC Safari. GM offered no comment on those vehicles.

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