Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio recalled over optimistic fuel gauges

Faulty software in the Italian sport sedan and SUV could lead to gas gauges that say they have more fuel than they do.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2019 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio NRING
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2019 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio NRING

Don't race to dealers yet, Alfa owners. This recall is slated to start in September.

Alfa Romeo

Nearly 22,000 Alfa Romeo Giulia sedans and Stelvio SUVs are being recalled due to potentially optimistic fuel gauges. The 2018 and 2019 model-year vehicles may have a body control module (BCM) "built with suspect software" that could result in fuel level readings that are higher than what is actually in the tank. The danger, obviously, is that drivers could run out of fuel and either stall -- increasing the risk of a crash -- or become stranded.

There are a series of very specific circumstances that can result in this faulty fuel readout. They involve parking on a grade of 10-plus degrees for a certain period of time (around 30 minutes) with a fuel tank that's filled between 50-75%. According to Alfa Romeo's parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the vehicle may "think it went through a refuel and add a notch or two to the fuel gauge upon restart." That artificially raised readout will continue until the next time an actual refueling takes place.

In March, 60,000 2017-2019 Giulia and Stelvio models were recalled over adaptive cruise control problems.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notice, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio owners covered under this fuel gauge recall will be notified by mail of the campaign, with dealers updating the body control module software free of charge to fix the issue. FCA says 21,915 vehicles built between April 5, 2018 and May 29, 2019 may be affected by the problem. 

The recall is expected to get underway on Sept. 13.

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