Car Advice

What is normal on a temperature gauge

The coolant temperature gauge is a common gauge that tells you when your vehicle is hot or cold.

It can be located on the left or right side of the dash, the coolant temperature gauge monitors the engine temperature.

Transmissions will not normally shift into the final drive gear until the temperature of the motor has reached about one quarter of its range of travel.  The normal operating range of most vehicles is middle of the gauge, so you will usually see a ”C” for cold on the left and an “H” for hot on the right side or (blue for cold & red for hot).

Gauges can also be installed vertically—in this design, the “C” would be on the bottom and the “H” on the top.  Typically the needle is going to run in the middle range of the gauge indicating what is called “Normal Operating Temperature.”

An interesting fact, if the needle in the gauge is staying at cold, this impacts your fuel mileage.  Your vehicle’s computer is designed to add fuel to your engine based on a programmed engine temperature.  When the engine is cold the computer tells it to add more fuel because it takes more fuel to operate.  If the thermostat is not operating—a common failure—the computer perceives the engine is running at a colder temperature and continues to add extra fuel to compensate, increasing your gasoline consumption.  Because the thermostat can affect fuel mileage, it’s very important you are familiar with the temperature gauge so you will know what is normal for your vehicle.  Check that gauge regularly when driving.

Note:  If you continue driving the vehicle when the gauge shows the engine is hot will cause very expensive and critical internal engine damage.  All too often we have seen very expensive engine damage caused by someone driving decided to go that extra mile to get home or the next exit.  Don’t make this mistake.

Call the professionals at Express Auto/RV Care Center should you have any questions or concerns with your vehicle’s cooling system.  (928)305-0767