Fuel Tank Sensor

One of the common misconceptions that many vehicle owners have is that a fuel tank sensor is the gadget responsible for telling you how much or how little fuel you have in the tank. Unfortunately, that little device is a float that simply indicates the level of fuel relative to the size of the tank. A fuel tank sensor is another thing altogether and is actually responsible for monitoring whether or not any gaseous emissions are escaping into the atmosphere. Most often this is one of the problems you will find if your vehicle does not pass emissions inspection in your city or state, if that is a requirement for annual vehicle registration.

FTP Sensor
When referring to a fuel tank sensor, the actual name for the device is Fuel Tank Pressure Sensor (FTP). The FTP sensor works as part of the Evaporative Emissions Control System that causes vapors to be sent to the engine to be burned rather than released into the atmosphere as harmful CO2 emissions. Unlike the fuel gauge that will readily be apparent when faulty, you may never know if the fuel tank sensor is defective unless you live in an area that requires annual emissions testing. For example, in the state of Georgia there are 12 counties, most of which are in the Metro Atlanta area that require emissions inspections prior to registering a vehicle in the state. If the sensor is faulty, gasses may escape into the exhaust system instead of being sent to the engine to be burned. A faulty sensor is quite often the culprit when a vehicle fails emissions inspections.

Common Problems with the Fuel Tank Sensor
In order to determine whether or not you will need to replace the FTP sensor, you will first need to rule out other potential problem areas. First of all, it could simply be a loose wire to the FTP sensor. There could also be a shorted or damaged wire leading to the sensor or the connector to the sensor could be bad. It could also be that the sensor is not grounded. Should all those check out ok, then the problem may very well be that the sensor itself has gone bad. Unfortunately, the average person wouldn’t have the diagnostic scanning tools on hand to run through the series of tests necessary to diagnose the problem. However, when trying to assess how much this type of repair may cost, it would help to know typical prices for fuel tank sensors for various makes and models of vehicles.

Cost Associated with Replacement Fuel Tank Sensors
The cost of a replacement fuel tank sensor will of course vary, depending on the type of vehicle in question. Some are as cheap as $35 or $40 while others can cost $150 to $200 or more. In reality, the price may be double that when you factor in the cost of labor unless you do it yourself. By searching for the year, make and model of your vehicle it is possible to order the part online and have it delivered within a few days. Most often the fuel tank sensor is attached to the fuel pump and is not a difficult repair if you have the tools and the ability to do the repair yourself. Instructions are generally included with the part, and there are a number of videos online that actually walk you through the process of removing the pump and replacing the sensor. Doing your own repairs does cut back on the cost of labor, but make sure you read the instructions thoroughly before attempting the installation of your new fuel tank sensor.

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