Be careful where you park your Alfa Giulia or Stelvio.

If you park on a hill, you could be in for a pleasant surprise — or so you might think.

Over in the US, nearly 22,000 Alfa Romeo Giulia sedans and Stelvio SUVs are being recalled due to potentially optimistic fuel gauges. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said the 2018 and 2019 model-year vehicles may have a body control module “built with suspect software” that could result in fuel level readings that are higher than what is actually in the tank. 

So you switch on, see the fuel gauge showing a full tank and think an invisible Father Christmas has secretly topped up your car’s tank, and head off on a long drive with a big smile on your kisser.

 But if you aren’t a regular gauge watcher, chances are you might run out of juice on the highway to nowhere, or in the dodgiest part of town.

Fiat Chrysler found that Giulias and Stelvios parked on a slope of 10 degrees or more for about 30 minutes with a fuel tank half to three-quarters filled, might show a more generous reading when you next switch on.

“The vehicle may think it went through a refuel and add a notch or two to the fuel gauge upon restart,” the company said.

Alfa Romeo said it discovered the defect after engineers in Italy received reports from the US of cars running out of fuel, despite what the fuel gauge showed. 

That artificially raised readout continues until the next time an actual refuelling takes place.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notice, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio owners covered under the 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.

Alternatively, just remember to park the car on level ground.

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.