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I've had my 02 RAV4 L for less than a week now. It appears to have been well cared for. But since the drive home from the dealer the fuel gage seems to wander. At first I thought it was my imagination, but today I pulled into the post office with a quarter tank, checked my mail, then came back and started my RAV only to find my gage pegged below the empty mark and the low fuel lamp screaming for attention. I almost drove directly to a gas station, but instead headed for home several miles away.

After about six miles the needle went back up to nearly a quarter tank and the light went out. Clearly not my imagination this time!

Is this a short, a defective sending unit, bad gage or what ..?

TIA, Pete
 

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It's one of the Rav's quirks, and it's perfectly normal. My Rav's gas gauge has done the exact same thing since day one. It has to do with the fact that the Rav's gas tank is shaped like an upside-down U to fit over the driveshaft. There are actually two sending units, one on each side of the tank, and the gauge is supposed to take the average of the two readings. However the gauge reading is easily thrown off by gas sloshing around from one side to another, and will often show a difference as much as 1/4 tank from when you turn off the ignition and when you turn it back on.

As annoying as this sounds, it's not that big of a deal once you get used to it and learn how the gauge likes to act.
 
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