2000 Chevy Malibu said tank was empty after filling up

Asked by Aug 19, 2014 at 06:24 PM about the 2000 Chevrolet Malibu Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

So today after a long day of driving (2 hours around noon, a little bit just now around
5pm) I filled up my Malibu's tank. I was almost on empty but the light hadn't come on.
Fills up fine with 8.3 gallons and I pull over somewhere to look up a phone number on
my cell. I didn't put the car in park, I just kept my foot on the brake in a parking spot.

Suddenly the gas gauge flies all the way down to empty and light comes on. Nothing
else appeared to be changed. I thought maybe its the battery coz when it goes
everything stops working but the car kept working and everything else on the dash was

I start driving maybe 30 seconds later and the full gauge starts slowly but surely going
back to full as I had just filled it completely. Took it home to look this sort of thing up.
Haven't tried restarting it yet but will soon.

What could this be? Is this something to worry about in the immediate future? So long
as there is gas in the actual tank the car should keep working no matter what, right?
Even if it says empty again?

I've read that a lot of heat could make this happen or maybe its something else. Any

2 Answers


A weak battery,or alternator will cause this.


I have the same problem in my 2004 Buick Terraza. It is the sending unit in the gas tank. GM wants around $600 to change it out. They say the tank has to be pulled, emptied and aired out to open the tank up to remove the sending unit. What I do is fill up after 300 miles and not worry. When I fill it, no matter if I fill it full or part way, it goes to empty for a while and finally moves up slowly after 1/8 tank is gone, it acts normal again. But don't trust it after 3/4 of the tank is gone. It will show 1/4 tank but will move to empty within 10 or 20 miles. Use the mileage reading to know when to fill it. I get a check engine light that comes on and will stay on for a couple of drives. I had it checked twice and was told it was the gas tank sending unit showing it was bad. $125 charge to read the check engine light, but I'd get it back if they did the work. Been that way for over 6 years. It was under warranty at first,but the dealership put me off until it was past warranty. :-( told me I had to leave the car for 5 days and get no rental replacement. I couldn't afford to do that so never got it fixed.

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