Is It Legal To Drive Without A Fuel Gauge?

Your fuel gauge is the primary method of knowing just how much fuel you have left in the tank. It is also the only reliable way of determining how far you can go between fill-ups. When it works.

If it fails, you risk the chance of running out of fuel. You may decide to fill it up at every opportunity to avoid getting stranded. But is it legal to drive around with a broken fuel gauge?

This article investigates the legalities of driving without a working fuel gauge. And what you can do about it.

You May Be Breaking The Law In Certain States

Writing ticket

Most states in the US require that a vehicle must have functioning instrumentation. This includes the fuel gauge. A vehicle without a working fuel gauge will fail a vehicle inspection and won't be deemed roadworthy.

There are some exceptions to this, such as:

  • If your vehicle wasn’t fitted with a fuel gauge from the factory (such as some old classic cars)
  • If the vehicle is not used on public roads
  • If the fuel gauge is not deemed essential for the vehicle’s intended use

If you are using your vehicle as day-to-day transportation or to drive on public roads, you can be certain that a working fuel gauge will be a requirement.

You Should Never Drive Without A Working Fuel Gauge

Fuel gauge

Aside from the annual inspection in some states, it may be difficult for the authorities to know that your fuel gauge is faulty. That does not mean you shouldn’t fix it.

There are several reasons why driving with a broken fuel gauge is a bad idea:

  • You may run out of fuel far from a fuel station or in an unsafe area. Nobody wants to get stuck far from home, especially if you then need to pay hundreds of dollars to get towed. 
  • You can damage your car’s fueling system if you completely run out of fuel. Sediment from the bottom of the gas tank can be sucked into the system. This can damage the fuel pump, fuel injectors, and fuel filter. 
  • You may damage other components as well. If you keep trying to start the car without any fuel in it, the starter motor can overheat, and the battery may go flat.
  • Other gauges in your instrument cluster may be broken too. If your fuel gauge isn’t working, other components may also be malfunctioning.

Get Your Fuel Gauge Repaired Or Remanufactured By ISS Automotive


Driving without a working fuel gauge is illegal in most states. It can also leave you stranded, and you may even damage your car. If you know your instrument cluster is faulty, it’s time to call ISS Automotive.

We have been remanufacturing electronic and mechatronic components for over 70 years. We can repair or remanufacture your instrument cluster and offer a 30 day warranty. Send us your faulty core unit, and you get a limited lifetime warranty.

We offer free shipping on orders within the continental US over $99. Contact our team online today or call 800-548-1195 for support.