Toyota Tundra Fuel Gauge Questions

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Funny fuel gaugeOver the past few months, we’ve received some questions about the Tundra’s fuel gauge. Basically, they all come down to this:

1) When my truck’s fuel gauge shows “E”, I’ve actually got quite a few gallons left in the tank. What gives?

The big reason — the fuel gauge sending unit is fairly low-tech. There’s a float in the fuel tank, and it’s somewhat inaccurate. Part of the inaccuracy is due to the technology itself — a float will rise and fall depending upon if the truck is turning, is level, has been moving recently, etc. Floats can also get “stuck”. For instance, if you leave your keys in your ignition in the “on” position (truck’s not running, but one crank and it will be) the next time you fill up, chances are when you jump in your truck to go you’ll see your fuel gauge reading less than “F”, even though you just filled it. That’s the nature of the float.

The second reason that the gauge shows “E” even though there is quite a bit of gas in the tank — the tank itself is pretty big. A big tank means that substantial changes in fuel volume don’t equal substantial changes in fuel height. You can look at my poorly drawn graphic below, but if you do the math and calculate the difference in height that the float must detect as one or two gallons leave the tank, you can imagine it’s pretty small. Combine that with the fact that the float is least accurate at the extreme ends of its range (read at empty and full), and you’ve got a formula for poor accuracy. Here’s the important part — it’s been this way for decades.

Toyota Tundra Fuel Gauge Inaccuracy Explained

The last reason, and the best explanation for why no one has ever bothered to improve on the current system, is that auto manufacturers like the idea of a “fuel reserve”. With the exception of Toyota, nearly all manufacturers offer free roadside assistance for the first 3 years of a vehicle’s life. That roadside assistance includes bringing you gas if you were to run out. If the tank has a hidden reserve of 2 or 3 gallons below the “E” mark on the gauge, you’re much less likely to run out of gas, and thus much less likely to call roadside assistance. Also, if you’re a procrastinator like me, this reserve feature has saved your bacon a time or two.

The big issue with the Tundra — if you can call this an issue — is that the reserve in the Tundra’s tank has been reported to be as high as 6 gallons! We suspect this is one of many first-year production issues that Toyota will clear up over time.

If you want to calculate your “reserve”, simply drive your truck until your fuel gauge is reading “E” (wait until the needle points right at it). Then, when you fill up, subtract the amount of fuel you add to your truck from the listed capacity of 26 gallons. Oh yeah — make sure you’re near home when you try this out. That way someone can bring you some gas just in case your truck has no reserve (highly unlikely, but technically possible).

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  1. […] this is a good read from another website that explains that we have a "float" that measures our tanks. Take a look (hey it even has pix ) Toyota Tundra Fuel Guage Inaccuracy | […]

  2. Steve Venman says:

    That explanation is completely unacceptable. This is 2008. You trying to tell me that Toyota cannot make a vehicle with an accurate Gas gauge or with accurate DTE calculations. What is the point of having this technology in your vehicle if its wrong or off by this much. Sorry not buying it.
    I have heard of building in an small contingency but there is no excuse for having a 1/4 tank of gas and the gauge is telling you that its empty.
    You keep on trying to convince yourself that this is a good thing, not going to work on me. Toyota has a problem here and they need to come up with a fix for this. A gas gauge that is off by 25%. What a joke.
    THis is complete BS.

    • john says:

      i took my truck for a recall to fix or grease door window switch the next day my gauge stopped working and left me on the road i called the dealer two miles away and they told me that this a problem with the tanks gauges
      funny it never stopped prior to my visit and they told me to tow it back at my expense and they will TRY to correct any thing they may have touched no thanks they are hard up for new victims

  3. admin says:

    Steve – Good points. This is 2008 – is it really that hard to get it right? (By the way – we don’t build em’. We’re not affiliated with Toyota).

  4. Steve Venman says:

    Thanks, yes I know you don’t build them.
    I am sure Toyota will be big boys and fix the problem. A gas gauge that is off this much is not reliable. My last Lincoln LT truck had a very accurate gas gauge and when it showed empty, and the DTE showed about 10KM I could put put almost 100L in to the tank. If ford can make a truck with an accurate gas gauge, I am sure Toyota can figure it out.

  5. admin says:

    Steve – Good observation about the LT. I used to have an 05′ F150 once upon a time and that gas gauge was very reliable too.

  6. Mickey says:

    Steve so what if you have more gas when it’s on E. This isn’t a big deal. Cost you less at the pump. I don’t see where this makes the guage unreliable. If this is all you can find wrong don’t worry about the price of oil. If you ever rode a motorcycle you would want a reserve.

  7. clinton johnson says:

    I am having the same problem with my 2007 tundra, toyota will not talk to me about it, they say that it is the design of it and they are not trying to fix the problem. Pretty good when good old American technology has had an accurate fuel gauge for the last 50 years in every American made vehicle using the float design and Toyota can’t or won’t fix this simple problem. Must be more about money than public opinion. Maybe their should be a class action suit.

  8. RDW says:

    I’m in the same boat and I’ve thought about filling my gas can and just going out there and running my ’07 Tundra until it runs out of gas just to see what the resrve is. I have a digital guage as well as a regular guage and when it reads 0 miles to empty, I’ve gone another 20 miles (at least). Then I went to fill up and the thing only accepted about 21 gallons. Toyota can do better. My previous vehicles have been Ford Explorer Sport Trac and my current Ford Explorer and my 2001 Honda has a very accurate gas guage.

  9. Keen observer says:

    If the gas gauge is off by 25%, this would explain why some are only getting 13.5 MPG instead of 18 MPG. Problem solved. If you fix the level gauge, then you will not have anymore mileage worries, and we can all worry about those pesky vent louvers that do not stay fixed. Perhaps some baffling inside the tank would help the float be more accurate. I always thought I got worse mileage in thew summer months when they were adding MTBE. I imagine it is the same for ETOH additives.



  10. Johann Julien says:

    Interesting comments on the fuel gage reading. I do agree with what has been said. I had an 1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser staion wagon (5.0 V8) and the low fuel light would come on apporximately 6 gallons almost all the time right on the money. Yes it was annoying, even with the light on I could drive a 100 miles at 70mph and still have gas, my tank capacity was 22 gallons. That light remineded you to put gas so they you wouldn’t run out somewhere on the freeway. Also that car averaged about 17-20mpg.At leats the tundra doesn’t have that light. Most state’s law requires you have a half a tank at all times. This is good engineering practice. I now have a 2008 Tundra Crewmax 5.7, and I keep it a half a tank. I average about 15-17mpg mostly freeway driving.

  11. Clinton Morgan says:

    I am inclined to believe that manufacturers build such reserves into their fuel tanks. It does irritate me, because I feel like I’m being cheated on the miles that my truck can travel between fill ups, but on the bright side, it costs a lot less at the pump to fill 21 gallons versus the entire 26(5 gal x 3.40). However, it IS hard to believe that someone has not come up with a better system than the float for the fuel sender. Regardless, love my Tundra.

  12. James B. Cook says:

    I’ve just purchased an 08 Tundra TRD, the window sticker read 14 city 18 hiway, 15 to 21 depending on ones driving habits.
    I have been taking off from stops slowly with no heavy acceleration while driving and the best that I can average is 13.8 hiway.
    Could there be something wrong with my truck or is estimated MPG off
    just like the fuel gauge?
    Please let me know if this is something that I can improve or am I just stuck
    with the problem.
    The MPG was a huge factor in my decision to buy the Tundra.

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Rodney says:

      There is something wrong, maybe it needs a tune up or the fuel lines cleaned out. I have a new toyota 2014 an get 19 on the highway

  13. Mr. B says:

    Let me get this straight. Most of you are complaining because Toyota gives you ample reserve before you end up stranded with an empty tank.

    You’re right, Toyota and all their dealers all conspire together not to talk to you about it. Yes, they are hiding the truth – but the truth is that they don’t waste their breath explaining things to dumbasses who assume Tundras are built only for commuting from soccer practice to Starbuck’s. I bet dollars to donuts if Toyota gave you a 10 mile reserve you’d cry about that being too small.

    The fact is this – if you’re towing anything big with a truck (or a ’84 station wagon for that matter) you’re lucky to get more than 10mpg. If you’re pulling a large boat, livestock or a camper then you’re also likely to be out in the boonies (anyone seen a gas station in a while?). Throw in a few mountains, air conditioning, the wife, kids and all their crap… and you’re happy to squeeze out 8mpg.

    Suddenly Toyota’s joke of a no-excuse-for class-action-worthy gas gauge conspiracy mpg cheating “problem” means you now have 48 miles to get your family out of a potentially life-threatening (think Arizona in August, Wyoming in January) situation that your ungrateful ass just put them in.

    A big reserve on a tow vehicle is a good thing. Period. Now shut the hell up, take your lawyer off speed dial, enjoy your cappuchino and realize that Toyota might know more than you do about the best way to build a vehicle.

  14. Mr. B – Funny stuff – I laughed pretty hard. I think you make some great points. It’s true that a reserve isn’t a bad thing. I think the issue for some is that the gauge isn’t really accurate. The truth is that this isn’t really THAT big of a deal, but I can see how it might be frustrating. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been fixed since the 07 model and I doubt it will be fixed anytime soon, so we’re all going to have to accept it and move on. Thanks for commenting – please keep doing so! 🙂

  15. Andrew says:

    This reassures me about my truck. Ive had my truck for less than a week, and still waiting on my paperwork and owners manual… (getting quite annoyed at the dealer now.) The biggest concern I have had is the gas gauge. I got the truck with a full tank of gas, and the gauge read half a tank by Friday when I filled up and I didnt do much driving last week. Saturday I drove about 120 miles, plus some Sunday driving, and my tank was gain at half. I have been puzzled about this as I assumed I could get roughly 400 miles per tank, and it seemed around 125 miles was killing half my tank. Not having a manual yet I haven’t had a primary source to check on the gauge, but this article has shed light on the situation… so thank you very much!


  16. Gary says:

    Any vehicle with an electric fuel pump NEEDS to have a decent level in the tank to protect it from running dry and shortening its life. Also factor in that our vehicles are not sitting perfectly level in all driving situations. hmmm
    Toyota did folks a favor here. Ditto Mr B comments above.
    Good grief gripers, find something else to wig out over.

  17. fumanchu says:

    This is piss poor!!! The fuel guage not being accurate doesn’t concern me half as much as the DTE gauge not being accurate…I want to know exactly how many more mile I can run on my gas tank!!! They could have did a better job than this!

    • safety77 says:

      this is an old post but….
      for those reading this: these trucks are built by a company that is known for building off road vehicles. When you are out off road and you start out with a full tank and a gas can for reserve, it happens all to often that after pulling out a friend a time or two and maybe fighting out of a couple situations yourself, you find yourself watching the amount of fuel you have left so that you are not walking out of the bush or stuck waiting for fuel to be run back… if you want a truck designed to get you to wal-mart the most amount of times as you can per tank of fuel then buy a FORD/CHEV/DODGE. I am sure the reserve is appreciated by more than realize it

  18. Mickey says:

    Fumanchu go towing and watch the gas guage. You’ll be happy you have extra in the tank.

  19. Gary – Great point – thanks for commenting.
    Fumanchu – It is what it is man.
    Mickey – Thanks for keepin’ it real.

  20. Jonnyo says:

    guys, ansewred my question about the fuel tank but if this is the only problem that we have I hope nothing really serious crops up.

  21. rm says:

    This is very helpful, my buddy drove his dry, and said he got about 22 when the digital read out said 0. It definetely is helpful when towing to have those extra miles, but if you put supreme gas and duel out your exhaust the mileage increases a bit. The best I had was 25mpg and that was driving from houston to beaumont, and I got about 410 miles out of that tank. The worst I have had was 310 miles to a tank, and that was because I was in city the entire time. I’m happy with my 08 5.7L trd tundra, it beats my buddies dodge any day, in just about everything except for his can hold one more passenger than my truck.

    • Big Bear says:

      How the hell do you get such great gas mileage. I bought my tundra 7 months ago and the best I’ve gotten has been 16 mpg, according to what the computer has told me. I want to know if there is anyway way to make it better or what. I love my trunk and do alot of driving, would like a tank of gas to last a little longer.

  22. Mickey says:

    Rm appreciate the comment because I had the same mpg at 24.9 and twice it hit 25mpg going from West Palm Beach to Jacksonville. No one believes it and now you have the same results.

  23. rm says:

    yup, it definetely depends on who is driving, it can save you gas as well as burn it up. but now that gas has gone down i dont worry about it as much, lately ive been getting about 21mpg. and i had to pull my buddies explorer and i got about 19mpg while i was pulling him, that was amazing to me, but i didnt go over 40 when doing it.

  24. Mickey says:

    Even with gas prices down I still try to get the best to and from work. The extra cash saved goes to the Michelob Ultra Fund.

  25. rm says:

    that sounds good, but usually im haulin ass just to get to work. but it is good when u can drive a bad ass truck and get decent mileage out of it.

  26. Mark Weber says:

    I have a 2003 Toyota Tundra with a V8. I’ve owned the vehicle for 2 years and am very happy with it except the fuel guage floats all over the place. I will be driving along with a full, or almost full tank and all of a sudden the guage will start going down. Sometimes it goes all the way down to below empty and then it will start back up. It usually just floats around. Most of the time it will be accurate when I first start it up, but will begin to change after driving for a while.
    Can you tell me what’s wrong with it?

  27. Mickey says:

    It sounds like it needs to be replaced. Or you may have a ground causing the issue. My opinion is to replace the fuel guage in the tank.

  28. Mark – Certainly sounds like a faulty sending unit, but if it’s working OK most of the time I say let it be. Those sending units can be expensive to replace – the part is cheap but the labor isn’t.

  29. fumanchu says:

    My last post to this topic was in December. This guage thing still bothers me.
    Hopefully they will fix make it more accurate in the future. I’ve figured my gauge is about 6 gallons off. I’m not the kind of person that sees how low he can run his tank before he refuels, so I’ve never been stranded. But to me, whether your hauling or not, I don’t see a purpose of having a gas gauge that doesn’t read accurately. Bottom line is, it leaves room for human error and the potential to leave people stranded. I mean, baiscally, unless you are a human calculator, you have to guess at the amount of fuel you have left…it’s only a matter of time before you guess wrong and get stranded.

    Just needing to vent,

  30. Mickey says:

    Again fumanchu you answered your own problem. Nothing wrong with guage at all. You know it leaves a reserve, and you stated you never let it get that low. You answered your problem. Fill up at 1/4 tank. If someone pushes the limit to find out well they deserve what they get (Stranded). It will cost you less to fill up. I don’t see a need to be a calc when it’s simple math and fill up at 1/4 tank. No need to guess. You’re looking for a problem which isn’t there.

    • Jay Gerstel says:

      You are all complaining about having more gas? My wifes 2007 Tundra all of a sudden decided to not register below a quarter tank. No low gas dinger will just run out just below a quarter of a tank. How can this be fixed? My wife has run out twice. She doesn’t drive the truck but maybe once a month. So she doesn’t remember.

  31. TXTee says:

    Wow of all the things to whine about this is the lamest. I immediately noticed my gas gauge on E means I have 4-6 gallons left. At even 10 mpg I can drive another 30 min or 30 miles in traffic. Read the pump when you fill up a few times and you’ll figure out what to do when the light comes on next time. More than anything, it saves your butt! Learn your vehicle and know it’s features and nuances. I’d rather hear about bed bounce (another worn out topic) than complain about going to my dealer and haggling them about a gas gauge. Get real! Did the truck get your @$$ where you were supposed to be safely, reliably? Haul that load it was meant to carry in the bed? Tow that trailer? Go back to whoever makes reliable gas gauges and tell me why you switched to Toyota again……*smile*

  32. Mickey says:

    Sounds of a true Tundra man.

  33. fumanchu says:


    I’ve had dodges, fords, and chevys and I like my tundra the best, no doubt…………but even crap dodges and piss poor fords can get this one right. I just don’t understand what happened to toyota with this. I think this was poor engineering and design. If my tank still has 6 gallons, THE DTE SHOULDN’T READ ZERO…regardless of what anyone says. For as much $$$ as I paid for the truck, they should have got it right. And for me to be told its functionling properly is rediculous. Why even have a DTE if it is not relatively accurate?…don’t tell me its ZERO, if I can still go FORTY!

    Your right, I bought the Tundra for alot of good reasons which do outway the fuel gauge issues, so I’m not going to sell the truck because of it. But don’t piss down my back and tell me its raining! This thing is obviously wrong and I’m tired of being told its right!

    I’m sure this is a worn out issue, but I just bought my tundra (first toyota), so its new to me. When something’s right, I say its not right. If your tired of reading about, then don’t waste your time on this thread and go read about bed bounce…I’ll probably post about that next.

    your buddy,

  34. Mickey says:

    Until a TSB or recall is done on the tank guage then there is no issue. Like you said you need to get over it. I paid just as much for my CM limited and don’t see an issue. I said before the truck was made for towing and it has a reserve. Such a trivial thing to complain about. Yes feel free to complain about the bounce. Make sure you send your complaint to ODI and NHTSA so it can be filed and when they get enough complaints then they will get with the manufacturer with either a TSB or force a Recall which has to be a safety issue first and this isn’t so that point is moot.

  35. fumanchu says:

    I still think its wrong…

    your old pal,

  36. TXTee says:

    Hey Fumanchu – There are a lot of things I can complain about with the Tundra but it’s a waste of energy for minor things. I think now that you realize when it says 0 and you know there’s 40, use that to your advantage. It’s a nuance you’ll learn to live with even if you think it’s a malfunction.

  37. fumanchu says:


    your probably right…I’m tired of complaining…it’s a good truck regardless

  38. Anonymous says:

    your pal,

  39. fumanchu says:

    Mick and Tee,

    I have seen the light!!!! You guys were right!!…I was hauling something this weekend and she was slurping the gas down…glad I had the extra 6 gallons!!! She’s a good truck and I’m going to treat her right and talk about her nice from now on!!

    Your bud,

  40. Mickey says:

    We’re just here to help if we can. Glad you had what you needed.

  41. jerry schwartz says:

    Hello everybody,im new to this,but i have a ? none the less.I purchased my tundra in july of 08.I have the 6 cylinder tundra,love the truck.I drove the truck,below the E mark and parked it.I drive it only on wkends.The following wkend i filled the truck up,my gauge still reads below E,and the dummy light is still lit up.This truck has less than 17,000 miles on it and its just a year old.Whats the deal here?This truck is brand new and im already having issues?

  42. Jerry – Sounds like a bad sending unit. Like anything electronic, they can fail at random times for no apparent reason. It could also be that the float is stuck. If you’ve got some gunk in the tank and you don’t drive it much, that could be all it is. Take it down a bumpy road and see what happens…

  43. Mickey says:

    If all else fails take it to the shop. You’re under warranty. I had my truck in the shop 4x. 3 out of the 4 were simple fixes the 4th took a little longer. I know all my service advisers and 3 of them know me and the wife by name. I think it’s great they know your name in the begining it makes the conversation easier. They know us because I have all maintenance done on both 07’s we have at the dealers. This way they know exactly what was done and what is needed. Not to mention when you’re at the end of a warranty or a non warranty issue they take care of it for you. Meaning my wife took the truck in for a check engine light. I knew I forgot to tightened the gas cap, but anyway took it to be checked just in case. They didn’t charge us for diagnostics and replaced the cap. The advisor stated we are loyal customers and they want to keep our business so no charge. Except for the current 07 Prius we have every other new vehicle I had been in the shop for an issue. As little as 2 to as much as 24. It does happen. Let us know how it goes. Happy trucking with the V6. Hope you’re getting great mpg’s I’m avg 20-22 mpg’s with my 5.7. I do have 64,700 miles on my 07. I do travel quite a bit.

  44. CowboysLoveTheirTrucks says:

    Should a cowboy drive up to a Rodeo in a tundra?

  45. Cowboys – Why not? I see a lot of cowboys driving beat up old cars at the National Western because they’re too broke to buy anything else. For a lot of die-hard rodeo’ers, I think a new Tundra would be a big upgrade! 🙂

  46. rick says:

    Hello everyone, new 07 tundra trd crewmax owner here since May 09. First thing I noticed was the gauge, forget who said it but ya, its just simple math at the pump and when light came on, approx 6 gallons left in tank. I questioned the tank size a few times but kept reading 26 gallons so guess it is.

    In regards to the question about DTE gauge (not sure what DTE stands for exactly, I’m new to the electronic gauges, but I’m assuming its my digital readout on my dash(sorry if I’m wrong)). Not sure if anyone realized but from what I can figure out ( again w/ the math) the DTE rates your last fill up, not gauges your tank completly. So if you filled 20 gallons ( for math sake) and you are getting 14 mpg (per ur DTE gauge) then your total miles on ur DTE will read 280miles left on your tank even though the E light will come on again at 6 gallons left. I am not complaining nor fighting it. But just my 2 cents, could be wrong, but just what I’ve figured out. Also yes your avg mpg via DTE will also show based off the math of last fill up and obviously changes with driving habits.

    Thanks for listening

  47. Bob Dalton says:

    I owned a 20004 Tundra 4×4 that has a perfectly accurate fuel gauge across the full range of travel.

    In 2007 I upraded to the 2007 2×4, and the fuel gage is off over 23%. I’m one of those with 6-gallons missing, which at 14.7 mpg, equates to a loss of 88.2 miles in range. With this kind of inaccuracy, the fuel gauge is completely useless and I can never rely on it. Instead, I must use my tripmeter A setting (I use the B setting to track oil changes). I know that with a 26 gallon tank, and an engine that gets 14.7 mpg, my total range should be 382.2 miles. Instead I approach “E” at about 250 miles (gas light comes on), and must find a gas station immediately rather than dare the gauge to always be wrong and risk being stranded. Of course, fill up is about 16-17 gallons, and I shake my head in disgust at the poor quality of my beloved truck’s fuel gauge. I expect so much more from Toyota than the shoddy material workmanship I received.

    I have kept a log of every fill for the last 12,000 miles after I noticed the error (now have 15,000 on truck), and intend to take it back to Toyota as a warranty repair very soon. I just hope the service counter rep understands the math.

    A 23% (6 gallon) error is completely unaccptable, and I think anyone is foolish to accept it as normal. I understand the science of the article, and could accpt maybe a 5% (1.3 gallon) error. However, loss of a full quarter of performance is way outside the acceptable error mark.

  48. Bob – I understand where you’re coming from. Not to be argumentative, but a 23% error is pretty much the norm in the realm of compact cars. With 12-14 gallon tanks and 2 or 3 gallons of reserve, the error can exceed 25% on some models. I agree that Toyota took a shortcut here (why not make a fuel gauge that reads with higher accuracy?), but I think that most people manage to adjust. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely workable. If you make any headway with the dealer, please post that news here. There are a lot of people that would like to get this handled.
    In an unrelated note, how do you feel about the floor mat recall? Some people say that it’s just an issue of personal responsibility and that Toyota shouldn’t be held accountable for people that don’t know how to use a floormat correctly. I think the same argument could be made about the not-quite-accurate fuel gauge argument. Is it *really* a problem, or is it our expectation that things should be 100% perfect that’s the problem?

  49. Mickey says:

    Bob what was the new Tundra built for???? Towing….That’s why you have a larger reserve for those who are towing.

  50. John says:

    I purchased a new 2012 5.7L Tundra Double cab after trading in my 2006 Tacoma, mainly for more HP/torque when pulling my RV. I have noticed that the most fuel that I can put in when the gauge reads “E” (on the line) is 20 gallons. The idiot “info” reading on the dash says “0 miles remaining”. I fully appreciate having a reserve but this is ridiculous. Looking back through this blog , it looks like this problem has existed for a long time…Any other 2010’s care to comment?…John in NC

  51. 09 5.7 tundra ST says:

    I think the gas gauge problem is great news, was late for work, forgot to gas up, made the commute doing 170km/h the whole way, needless to say I devoured what fuel was is the tank get to work and the gas light comes on, it’s good to hear that i have a chance to make it home in the morning! 🙂

  52. rick says:

    ive read some of these but not all of them, my 2010 tundra sucks up the gas no doubt. i expected that, but also expected an average mpg of 15.5 mpg, i am now fianally getting that. i was reporting earlier shortly after buying the truck thta i was getting 12.9. 13.5 etc, but it appears all of that was wrong becuase the system is so inaccurate. now i do the math on each fillup to see where i am at. what i want to tell you is this. when my guage gets to 0 i stop to get gas, never have i gone more than 10 miles after it reads 0. i fill up, pump shuts off at 21.5 gallons (never more than that) so i decide i am going to find out how much more fuel i can put in the tank. its a pain in the butt, but i have been able to add additional fuel at least two times now to get the fillup to be 25 to 25.5 gallons of fuel, fyi. where is all thta fuel going if ***at 0 miles left*** i really have more gas in the tank? sometimes i do try to top it off simply to prolong the trip back to the station by a half a day or so. its prob unsafe to fill the last part of the tank like this, but if your paying attention and you have the nozzle touching the filler, i wouldnt do it if i thought i would create an unsafe situation. i started doing it mainly becuase i was not convinced the tank was***full*** and i was right. And i dont do it everytime, im just trying to reassure that what i am saying is true and it is. Toyota ought to get it a little more accurate if not for anything else but to keep the average joe’s like me from having to go to this extent to see if the tank is really full or not when the pump shuts off at 21.5 gallon fill up.

  53. Jason says:

    rick – A lot of people find this to be an irritating characteristic of the Tundra. Maybe they’ll make gauge accuracy a priority on the next major redesign.

  54. Michael says:

    It’s for people who are towing 10,000lbs and get about 8 mpg. If you are driving in the middle of no where, getting 8 mpg, and you have 5-6 gal in reserve you will be thankful.

  55. Mickey says:

    Concur Michael…..

  56. Jason says:

    Michael – That explanation makes an awful lot of sense – thank you.

  57. Joel says:

    Toyota advertises a 100L tank on all of their literature. When I bought my truck this is what I expected and this 100L should not include any reserve. As all of you know when you start towing mileage drops way off and so does your range. In all the years of owning a vehicle I have never run out of fuel so I really didn’t need Toyota to hide 20L of reserve in the tank on me. It’s completely ridiculous and even more so on a vehicle that is designed to WORK. Our Acura TSX has an 80L tank for god’s sake and that doesn’t count reserve!!

    I shake my head at all of you guys that try to justify this reserve feature as a towing blessing. I thought getting the trip computer in my truck would be nice to have and it’s completely useless because of this 20L reserve. When the counter hits zero you really have no clue as to how much you have left for fuel. It’s a joke and I spend far more time at the pump or worse worrying about the next gas station than I ever expected.

    Toyota blew it on this one. A truck is designed to work and sometimes you end up in remote places getting poor mileage.
    I am looking at changing out the tank on my truck to something more suited to a truck rather than a car. Something that should have been in there from the start.

  58. Jason says:

    Joel – I hear what you’re saying about the ads and your expectations. However, if you’re looking for an accurate gas gauge as a pre-requisite of buying a new truck, I think you’ll be universally disappointed. This is a low-tech system that is still used because it’s incredibly cheap – no truck manufacturer that I know of uses a different setup, so you’re bound to have some variations of the same problems.

    Having said that, the reserve is much too big. I agree on that point for sure.

  59. Joel says:

    The guaging system is actually not that inaccurate and I think that is the misconception I am reading here. The issue is that Toyota in their infinite wisdom decided to put a huge reserve into the truck to make sure you get lots of warning and it scares you so you do not run the truck dry.

    Example, when I hit 0km on my trip computer I can almost always put exactly 80L of fuel. Nothing wrong with that accuracy right? BTW, I have confirmed with my service manager that reserve is set for 20%. The system is designed this way.

    Where I have the trouble is that 80L on a truck pulling something is not even close to enough fuel. Even empty that is not great range.

    If Toyota wanted a 20L reserve they should have put in a 120L tank. To me their specs are false advertising and a gross mis-calculation of what normal use is for a truck.

    My brother-in-law drives a new Silverado, also with a 100L tank. Guess how much fuel his tank will accept when it’s empty or trip computer is near zero? If you guessed 100L then you win the prize.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like my Tundra, but this was a huge disappointment discovered after the fact. I expected better range and I hate having to re-fuel so much. God-forbid towing something heavy then I really need to carefully plan my stops.

    Eventually I will install an aftermarket tank. Of course at my extra cost but at least I will have a proper setup for towing.

  60. Jason says:

    Joel – Fair enough. I’ve owned Ford, Dodge, and GM trucks, I liked them all (some more than others), and they’ve all had their own little quirks. I understand your frustration.

    If it’s any consolation, I think Toyota recognizes this is annoying to some people. The engineer in charge of the new truck said that it will have a larger tank.

  61. Joel says:

    I’m thinking a better consolation would be if they had listened to the complaints from 3 years ago and done something about this back then.

    They have been building trucks for long enough to know that people put their trucks to work and sometimes have to travel long distances.

    My 2010 4.6L is effectively a new powertrain for this year and still they carried on with this stupid reserve configuration and tiny fuel tank.

    I will agree that every vehicle I have ever owned has it’s quirks. But oversized reserve and small tank size on a truck? Come on, this is 1st grade common sense here.

    I am looking into a 175L retrofit tank for mine. Anything smaller is not truck worthy in my opinion. Sure it will cost alot to fill but I won’t be stopping for fuel every 2-3 hours or worried if I can make a round trip when I’m on the road.

    I’ll buy you a coffee at the next gas station, Jason, we can chat more about it. 🙂

  62. Jason says:

    Joel – LOL – fair enough. I think that the reserve issue wouldn’t be nearly as annoying if the tank was 50% bigger…you make a great point. Thanks for commenting.

  63. Steve says:

    Looks like a lot of Toyota fans just cannot admit that Toyota make mistakes as well. Lets face it, technology should provide accurate information, that’s what its for. I don’t need a car manufacturer building in a dumbass fail safe so I don’t run out of Gas. What is the point of having a DTE that is off by 25% ? There is no reason this could not be completely accurate. You want to put in a small contingency then fine. Maybe 10 Miles or KM but not over 100 KM. Thats just stupid. The gas gauge is telling you that you are out of gas and the DTE is reading 0 and there is over 25 Liters of fuel in the tank and you can drive over 100 km. There are lots of people making excuses for Toyota these days. Anyone trying to justify this is off their rocker. If your going to sell a vehicle with these features then its simple, make them work and work accurately and if you cannot read the instruments and run out of gas then thats your problem.
    Now here is some interesting info.
    I have been driving for over 25 years now and I have never ever run of gas in any of my vehicles. Guess what happened to me last summer with the Tundra? I ran out of gas because I was sure that I could squeeze out a few more KM to the next gas station. I always set the trip when my DTE reads 0 and I can always get 80 to 100 km more out of the tank. This way I’m not filling up every 3 days. Now if the instruments were accurate, I would have known I could not squeeze it any more. So much for the theory that this is good thing.
    Come on everyone, don’t make excuses for Toyota, they are a good company but they make their fair share of mistakes and you have to call a spade a spade. Toyota, fix this problem. Its not difficult or at least admit that you screwed up here.

  64. Jason says:

    Steve – I don’t think anyone is making excuses for Toyota on this – I agree that it’s a dumb little error.

    However, I think that a lot of people don’t feel like it’s a big problem (myself included). It’s a foible, but not a major issue that deserves half the attention it seems to get (my opinion).

    Thanks for commenting.

  65. Chris says:

    I have a question about my 2000 toyota tundra access cab. I replaced some of the lights in the info panel( fuel gauge worked before I changed them out) and now my fuel gauge is not working since I have changed them out . I put all the wires back together correctly but could I be missing something in the panel that would make it not work now?

  66. Jason says:

    Chris – If it was working before you rewired the lights, and it’s not working now, the logical conclusion is that the wires weren’t re-attached correctly. It’s possible that something else failed during this process, but not probable.

  67. Brian says:

    I just bought a 2011 5.7L Double cab and my first tank of gas took me all of 320 miles before the warning light appeared. I drove it very lightly over the next day or so and ended up at 338 miles before I put 20 gallons back in. I obviously burned at least 20 gallons because the tank would likely have held more than the $50 gas card I had. Of those miles, it was an equal split between highway/city driving. I plan to run the damn thing down as far as I can stand to check the vaunted reserve some of you swear by. It appears that the issue of a misleading gas gauge is still a problem for Toyota. Overall, I think I like this truck. It is growing on me. I like the interior space, capability and overall appearance. I’ve owned eleven trucks in the past ten years, including ex-wife’s trucks, and initially the Tundra seems to have what it takes to be a complete truck. My 11 year old son is hoping that it becomes his first vehicle when he turns 16!

  68. Jason says:

    Brian – If your son gets your truck in 5 years, I’m going to be very jealous of him. 🙂

  69. nathan says:

    My truck will not fill up all of the 26 gallons… I get to 18 gallons then the pump shuts off…. I have sat at the pump and topped it off ill get about a quarter of a gallon in then the pump shuts off again, but i can put in depending how low it is like another 6 gallons doing this but it takes me 10 more minutes at the pump. WTF!

  70. Jason (Admin) says:

    nathan – It’s pretty typical for the trucks to be holding 4-6 gallons even when the gauge says “E”. I wouldn’t advocate filling your truck any more after the pump clicks – most of that gas fills the evap canister and then simply floats away as it evaporates.

  71. Al says:

    Just bought a 2007 Tundra, filled out the tank for the first time and drove it to see how many miles I can get out of the tank. Unfortunately I ran out of gas on the middle of the street when the fuel gauge was indicating 1/4 of fuel on the tank. No low fuel warning light came out, nothing… I took it in to a shop so they can check this and they claim that I have a innacurate float in the fuel tank. Any suggestions?

  72. Jason (Admin) says:

    Al – No suggestions aside from the obvious…probably want to reset your odometer every time you fill-up and hedge your bets.

    I’m not aware of any after-market solutions.

    However, I will say that most people have the opposite problem – they’re never in danger of running out of gas because the tank reads lower than it actually is…maybe your dealer should double-check.

  73. Ron says:

    If this is a basic float design, has anyone considered using an alternative float gauge from prior Toyota or other vehicle to replace it? I just need to read the bottom half of the tank.

  74. Frank says:

    i think this is actually a great idea from toyota.. me thinking that my tank was almost out of gas has saved my behind once or twice on a road trip.. and i do remember seeing my gas light come on when i only put in like 20.2 gallons of gas in. so i still had 5.8 gallons left!

  75. Jason says:

    I have a 2008 Tundra with same issue and have lived with it since Toyota would not correct the problem. My truck sits all week and last weekend when turning it on discovered the fuel gauge read E even though it was full of fuel. The service dept told me that a rodent chewed through the wiring between the gauge and tank and it would not be covered by warranty. Now I have a truck with 40k and no fuel gauge at all… Anybody else having this problem.

  76. Jason (Admin) says:

    Jason – Thankfully, I don’t have any rodent problems to report. 😉

  77. mike says:

    All you folks who are defending the “reserve” – would you like a speedometer that shows your speed to be 25% faster than what you are really traveling? Hey, the inaccuracy is BUILT IN RESERVE to keep you from getting a ticket, so it’s a FEATURE, not a PROBLEM, right?
    Maybe it’s because I’m an engineer, but I expect gauges on my equipment to tell me the truth, not lie to me “for my own good”. I love my 3 week old 2012 Tundra CM, but don’t tell me I’m too stupid to manage my own fuel consumption, so Toyota had to lie to me for my own protection . . . .

  78. Jason (Admin) says:

    mike – My speedometer does show a speed that is 1-3 mph higher than my actual speed…at least if the local “Your Speed Is” electronic signs are to be trusted.

    Now obviously the magnitude of the speedo error is much smaller, but no matter what the gauges are going to be off a bit. I’m not saying the 20-25% error is acceptable, but I am saying that every truck has some version of this same problem.

    Congrats on your new truck – hopefully Toyota addresses this issue in their next redesign based on your comments and the comments of others.

  79. greg says:

    own a 2010 tundra 5.7 limited 37000miles on it same problem gauge reads empty fuel lites on says 10 miles to empty stop for gas holds 18 gals. trying very hard to top it off the thing that realy pisses me off is that you think for $40000.00 toyota could at least make a better system then what they are useing now!very sad!

  80. […] between 3 and 5 gallons – at least according to all the comments left on this post:… I know that Toyota will be addressing this on the next generation Tundra, which is due in late 2013 […]

    • B2 says:

      2014 tundras did not fix the problem. Tank takes between 20.5 and 21 gallons after hitting E.

  81. Gregg says:

    I just ran out of gas on freeway 2010 tundra
    It says I have a 25 tank I’m pissed is there a

  82. carlos says:

    Hey guys two weeks ago i had an accident w/my 07 Tundra going 75 m/h with a huge deer here in New England (mass) my truch was a t/loss and thank God nothing happened to me, all i know this are reliability trucks; ins payme the truck and i bought a 2012 5.7 grey tundra and i feel very safe

  83. 2JAGConstruction says:

    I bought 2012 tundra ang the gas lite comes on when I have over 23 litres left when I measured how far I could go after I get around 175 kms. What is the point of having a gas gauge and warning lite if they aren’t at all accurate!!!!! Very unhappy because in winter I use camand start so I can’t use the odomiter.

  84. JM says:

    Well, I have a 2013 Tundra, always noticed since I got last October that the guage was off. Today I went until the gas light was on to remind me I was real low, and was on E. I only took 20.1 gallons, so when I hit E I have 6 gallons left, been averaging 14.5 MPG in city, so I know I can go to about 360 miles and still have a few gallons left if need be. Anyway, just wanted to put that out that it still is a problem on 2013’s even!!

  85. brian says:

    I now own a 07 tundra not to worried about the reserve amount myself.
    If there design is like every other manufacturer you can pull the tank and bend the rod the float connects to until it touched the bottom. Then it will be closer to correct.

  86. jeffsequoia says:

    I noticed a huge difference in the mileage calc for a full tank as soon I did my first fill up on my 2011 Sequoia.So , I did the manual test;I drove it until is said 0 miles of fuel left, then drove it to a gas station.
    Only took 21 gallons in a 26.5 gallon tank. So , yes 5.5 gallons of fuel reserve.

  87. Big Rob says:

    Ran out of gas with 38 miles left on the digital range meter. Gas gauge said I had a quarter of a tank left of gas. Car shut off on a busy road way while I was towing a trailer. Dealer said that they have been replacing a lot of fuel sending units. Cost for part and install $540.00. Only covered in warrant 3 years or 36,000 miles. Not good customer service by Toyota. Fuel system should last between 7-10 years.

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