Philip Raby Porsche

Porsche Sales and Service

Porsche 996/997 fuel gauge woes

Porsche 996/997 fuel gauge woes
Porsche 996 and 997 fuel gauge

Porsche builds wonderful cars that are beautifully designed and engineered. However, there are one or two things that astonish me.

One such thing is the Porsche 996/997 fuel gauge. Because of the shape of the petrol tank, the gauge can only measure the top two-thirds of fuel in the tank – the remaining third is calculated which means the position of the needle on the dial is only an estimate.

That in itself isn’t a problem, as it always errs on the side of caution. Where it does become an issue, though, is when you part-fill the tank from empty. If you only add a few litres of petrol, it won’t register and the Porsche 996/997 fuel gauge continues to read empty. The only solution is to add enough fuel to fill more than about one-third of the tank.

This is mainly an issue with four-wheel drive models – the Carrera 4 and 996/997 Turbo – because the tank is shaped around the front differential like a saddle. However, I’ve found that rear-wheel drive derivatives also don’t give an accurate reading after a relatively small amount of petrol is added to a near-empty tank.

Not a problem for owners who usually fill up all the way at the station, but annoying if, for whatever reason, you just want to put a few litres in.

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  • MIKE says:


  • Neill Watson says:

    The 996 Turbo I instruct in does that. I thought it was a fault – I didn’t know that it was standard. I often need a ‘splash n dash’ on the way home, have to admit to running out last year….

  • Russell Spencer says:

    The thing that gets me about the fuel gauge is th fact that half 1/2 full is indicated by 2/4 two quarters,I always had it drummed into me at school that a fraction should always be writen as its lowest denominators, so should be writen as 1/2 and the 4/4 they use for full should just be written as full, maybe i’m wrong or maybe its just a German thing.

  • Phil says:

    Good point, I’d never thought of that!

  • SAM DACOSTA says:

    I noticed this with my 996 C4S. Whenever the gauge indicates below 1/4 tank and I put in less than 5 gallons, there is no indication with the fuel sensor of the new fuel level, as it continues to read the low fuel level. I have to put in over the 5 gallon quantity for the gauge to register the new level. I thought this was a flaw to MY car but now reading this post, it makes perfect sense. Love the brand, hate the quirks. On another topic, my 964 has to be filled with an inverted nozzle to have gas flow continuously into the tank. If not, the nozzle trips of repeatedly. “Love the brand, hate the quirks… “

  • Paul McAleer says:

    This is the only minor annoyance on our 996 Turbo. My solution – treat the 1/4 mark on the gauge as empty and fill up before the light comes on so that the reading appears true and correct.

  • Ian Hutton says:

    I am really pleased with your comments re part filling the fuel tank on 4×4 C4S. My Porsche dealer just quoted me £237 for a new petrol tank sender unit when all I have to do is fill up the tank! Thank you again.

  • Phil says:

    Glad to have been able to help!

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