Your vehicle temperature gauge has a very important job. Your vehicle temperature gauge has a very important job. It is there to inform you of the temperature of your engine while it is running. The gauge is located by the top of your vehicle’s dashboard and measures whether your engine coolant is cool, normal or overheating. Other than normal, a measure of cool or overheating on your temperature gauge is important and can be indicators of the condition of your vehicle.
If your gauge measures the temperature as cold
There are three possible reasons why this may be the case.
1. The temperature gauge stays on a cold reading – Generally, if the temperature gauge reads cold in the first few minutes after your engine has been turned on, it’s normal. However, if the reading remains cold after that, the gauge may be broken and in need of a repair.
2. The thermostat is stuck open – This will result in your car overcooling. If this seems to be the cause of your cold temperature reading, it is possible that you will need to have your thermostat replaced.
3. The temperature sensor is not sending the correct signal and may require replacing.
If your gauge measures the temperature as high
A high-temperature measure would indicate the vehicle’s engine is overheating and there are a number of reasons that this could occur.
1. Coolant Leak – If you have a coolant leak, the level of coolant will eventually drop below the minimum level and will no longer be effective in keeping the engine within the safe temperature range.
2. Faulty Thermostat – A faulty thermostat will not open/close when required and can cause the engine to overheat.
3. Faulty Coolant Temperature Sensor – Commonly when the sensor fails, it would give no reading at all but it is certainly possible
4. Failed Head Gasket – Head gasket failure can cause many problems, including the engine overheating as it allows the coolant to leak away inside the engine and mix with the oil.
5. Failed Water Pump – A faulty water pump or water pump gasket can also be the cause of the engine overheating.
The fault will need to be thoroughly diagnosed in order to find the root cause of the problem. Allowing the engine to continue to run whilst overheating can cause catastrophic engine damage and so, it is recommended to act quickly and avoid driving the vehicle until the fault has been repaired.
What you should do if your vehicle’s temperature is measured as high
If this occurs, your immediate response should be to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Once you’re parked up, turn off the air conditioning, open all the windows and turn the heaters on max, in an attempt to diffuse the heat. Should this method still not work, turn off your engine and open the bonnet of your vehicle to allow the engine to cool down. However, one thing you should never do is open the cap on the radiator/coolant bottle whilst the engine is still hot, as pressurised coolant can spray and scald you! Once you are sure that your engine has thoroughly cooled down, you may call a mechanic or take your vehicle to the nearest garage for a proper diagnosis and repair from a professional.
The temperature gauge is commonly built into the instrument cluster on the dash. Replacing it will require programming and mileage correction. We can remanufacture the existing unit and all repaired clusters are returned with a lifetime warranty.