Inaccurate Fuel Gauge

Asked by Jan 25, 2013 at 05:38 AM about the 2003 Volvo V40 Turbo Wagon

Question type: General

The fuel gauge on my 2003 Volvo station wagon which has now done 104,000K keeps showing empty
well before the tank is empty, and the light comes on. While I have got used to it, what is needed to fix
this problem? Regards, Colin.L.Deans

13 Answers

Probably the float sensor in the gas tank.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

every place I looked they all agree, the gas tank has to come out to replace the float. Personally, to me it would not be worth the expense, because you are talking 4 to 5 hundred bucks. And it seems to be a common problem on Volvo's, one of the very few problems that car develops as it ages, although any Volvo built after 2008 is not really a Volvo, the Chinese bought the nameplate from Ford, they have not been manufactured in Sweden since 2008, however your '03 is a very very well engineered car. This float thing is an anomaly you are not alone on this problem

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

You can try some fuel system cleaner. That might clean the variable resistor if that is the cause. It won't be any help if the resistor winding has worn through. Either way, reset the trip odo to zero when you fill up so you can estimate how much is left in the tank.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Thank you so much for your help. You have given me food for thought and I shall try anything out. I feel chuffed that you are telling me it is a common complaint, but that my vehicle is a good one. Thank you all. Best wishes, Colin.


Drop the rear seat backrest, release the front edge of the load space carpet and remove the support panel under the carpet. You will now have to remove the access cover and the protective case on top of the combined fuel pump/sender unit, then unplug the wiring and und the fuel hoses (make sure you mark which is which). Unscrew the large plastic nut that secures the combined fuel pump/sender and pull it up (let it drain for a few seconds before taking it out all the way), Then simply replace the combined pump/sender with a new one ensuring the alignment marks match up (a small amount of petroleum jelly will aid in refitting the seal and hoses). the rest is pretty much reversal of removal. It's a bit of work to do and will cost you around 300 dollars to buy a sender unit, but that will also include a new fuel pump. As David said it's a common complaint but not a major operation to fix.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

I stand corrected Lars. My source(s) all seemed to agree that the tank had to come out, but your answer makes perfect sense. I saw some images and wondered..


Sometimes it helps to have access to the IPB, FSM or the actual car ;-)

Not sometimes....that is the most difficult part of trying to help on this forum, if every question that came in the car miraculously appeared in my driveway.....


It also helps to spend a lot of time in the auto hobby club on an air base, you get to see pretty much every make and model of car pass through there.


Not to mention every sort of problem...

Oh yeah, I have spent plenty of time on flight lines and hangers, my knowledge of A &P, especially jet and turboprop, has carried over in to automotive applications. They are apples and oranges really, but then again some things are constants..... but I would love to get my hands on one of these again..or an F 16, the hot rod of fighters

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have 2003 V40 with 71,000 on it. We bought in in 2009 and the gauge has never been accurate. I just watch the odometer. I just filled it up when it was approaching E and it only took 8.8 gallons for a 16 gallon tank. My wife does not believe me that there is better than 100 miles left in the tank. I would like to get the sender/pump replaced but only if someone knows for sure if this fixes the problem. Comments please. I think Volvo may have had a field fix for this when it was under warranty. The car has been terrific

Does anyone have s60 turbo 2001 volvo

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions


Looking for a Used V40 in your area?

CarGurus has 69 nationwide V40 listings starting at $1,165.


Search Volvo V40 Questions

UK Questions

Are you a UK consumer? CarGurus now has a discussion forum in the UK.

Volvo V40 Experts

#1 Lars Cats
Lars Cats
Reputation 90
#2 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 60
#3 keithm10
Reputation 20
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Volvo S40
26 Great Deals out of 1,249 listings starting at $1,700
Used Volvo V70
16 Great Deals out of 458 listings starting at $1,499
Used Volvo S60
137 Great Deals out of 8,033 listings starting at $1,988
Used BMW 3 Series
1,521 Great Deals out of 38,937 listings starting at $1,495
Used Volvo S80
39 Great Deals out of 1,097 listings starting at $1,750
Used Chevrolet Suburban
556 Great Deals out of 19,389 listings starting at $1,964
Used Ford Focus
882 Great Deals out of 58,591 listings starting at $800
Used Cadillac SRX
600 Great Deals out of 9,929 listings starting at $2,800
Used Volvo XC90
120 Great Deals out of 6,494 listings starting at $1,995
Used Subaru Forester
303 Great Deals out of 21,958 listings starting at $1,290

Used Cars For Sale

2003 Volvo V40 Turbo Wagon For Sale
15 listings starting at $1,890
2001 Volvo V40 Turbo Wagon For Sale
5 listings starting at $1,165