The cause of the problem is a fuel level sensor that can deliver an erroneous reading as the mechanism wears. This may cause the fuel gauge to indicate more fuel than is actually in the tank, leading owners to run out of gas. In at least one instance, the driver of an affected vehicle was rear-ended after running out of gas on a highway off-ramp.
Owner complaints prompted an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who sought to verify the extent of the problem in some 865,000 GM vehicles.
General Motors has now agreed to subsidize the cost of repairs for owners of 2005-07 Chevy Trailblazers, Buick Rainiers, GMC Envoys and Saab 9-7s, thus closing the NHTSA investigation. As reported in Automotive News (subscription required), GM will pay half the cost of repair, with the vehicle owner responsible for the balance.
Since this is not a recall, only vehicles experiencing fuel gauge accuracy issues will receive the subsidized repairs. To be safe, we recommend you double check your vehicle’s range by resetting your trip odometer each and every time you tank up.