Chevy cruze temp gauge

Chevy cruze temp gauge DEFAULT

How to fix a temperature gauge

By Jonathon Klein, The Drive

Tribune Content Agency|

May 15, at AM

So your car's temperature gauge is acting up, or not working at all, and you want to fix it? Good for you. Your car's engine temperature is vital to its operation, and a properly-operating gauge is a window to its health. Plus, it could mean the difference between getting to work and being stranded in a deserted mining town as zombies size up your brain. Anyway…

In modern cars, the temperature gauge also helps the engine computer set a proper fuel-to-air mixture. That's important for both fuel economy and engine longevity. But figuring out what's causing your temperature gauge to fail, or behave erratically, isn't just a case of "here's what's wrong." It will likely take some troubleshooting. The Drive's crack How-To team is here to help you diagnose and fix your temperature gauge, and get back on the road.

Estimated Time Needed: One hour or more

Skill Level: Intermediate

Working on your car can be messy, especially when you're working with surfaces you've never bothered to clean before. It can also be dangerous as liquids can be scaldingly hot and parts could fall on your toes. So here's what you'll need to ensure you keep your jeans, shirt, and skin spotless, and your bones fully intact.

  • Mechanic gloves.
  • Long-sleeve shirt to protect your arms.
  • A mask or ventilator to prevent inhaling chemical fumes, and if you want to look like a cut-rate Bane.
  • Eye protection.

Organizing your tools and gear so everything is easily reachable will save precious minutes waiting for your handy-dandy child or four-legged helper to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch. (You won’t need a blowtorch for this job. Please don’t have your kid hand you a blowtorch--Ed.)

You’ll also need a flat workspace, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking, though check your local laws to make sure you’re not violating any codes when using the street.

We're not psychic, nor are we snooping through your toolbox or garage, so here's what you'll need to get the job done.

  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Light
  • OBD2 scanner
  • Bucket to drain the coolant
  • New temperature sensor (if applicable)
  • New thermostat (if applicable)
  • New coolant

Here’s How to Fix Your Car’s Temperature Gauge

Replacing a Faulty Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor

The most common cause of faulty temperature readings is a broken coolant temperature sensor (CTS). The part, which is normally located near a vehicle's thermostat near the base of the radiator (consult your owner's manual or repair guide) can get gunked up and fail.

  • Using an OBD2 scanner, check to see if the CTS is providing live temperature readings.
  • If it isn't, there's your problem. The part will need to be replaced.
  • Let the car's coolant cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • For better clearance, jack up the front end of your vehicle.
  • Remove the radiator cap.
  • Drain the radiator, according to instruction sin your car's repair manual.
  • Disconnect the temperature sensor's wiring connector.
  • Remove the temperature sensor.
  • Install the new temperature sensor.
  • Reconnect the wiring connector.
  • Make sure all the coolant plugs are secure.
  • Add coolant and place the cap back on the reservoir.
  • Lower your car.
  • Start the engine.
  • Wait to see if the temperature gauge reads correctly.
  • Take a test drive.
  • Check to make sure the coolant level hasn't dropped.
  • If it has, refill it as necessary.
  • If everything is a-ok, you’re golden.

Replacing a Faulty Thermostat

The second most common fault is a bad thermostat. This little part manages the flow of coolant from the radiator to and from the engine and can become stuck open or closed. Neither is a good thing for your engine. The thermostat is usually located at the top of the radiator or at its base (consult your owner's manual or repair guide). The only way to test a thermostat is by removing it completely and submerging it in a bucket of hot water to see if it opens. Here's how to test and replace a faulty thermostat.

  • Let the car's coolant cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Locate the thermostat.
  • For better clearance, jack up the front end of the vehicle.
  • Remove the radiator cap.
  • Drain the radiator, according to instruction sin your car's repair manual.
  • Remove the thermostat.
  • To test the thermostat, submerge in near-boiling water. If it remains closed, it's faulty and should be replaced.
  • Replace thermostat.
  • Make sure all the coolant plugs are secure.
  • Add the coolant and place the cap back on the reservoir.
  • Lower your car.
  • Start the engine.
  • Wait to see if the temperature gauge reads correctly.
  • Take a test drive.
  • Check to make sure the coolant level hasn't dropped.
  • If it has, refill it as necessary.
  • If everything is a-ok, you've done it.

Diagnosing Air in the Coolant System

Another common reason for a faulty temperature gauge is air making its way into the radiator hoses. Air can pool near the temperature sensor or the thermostat and cause faulty readings (or no readings at all). It can also affect the car's overall cooling efficiency. Here's how to diagnose and to fix air in your hoses.

  • Jack up the front of your car, this will aid the air removal.
  • With the radiator cap off, start the car.
  • Coolant should begin to cycle through the engine and if there's air trapped in the system, it will burp up the air.
  • Let the car idle until warm, which may take 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Once you're satisfied all the air has been removed (the burps will stop), replace the radiator cap.
  • Lower your car.
  • Take a test drive.
  • Check to make sure the coolant level hasn't dropped.
  • If it has, refill it as necessary.
  • If everything is a-ok, you've done it.

Diagnosing a Faulty Instrument Cluster

The average DIY’er may need a professional to diagnose and fix a faulty instrument cluster. If you’ve already checked the three possible culprits above and none were the cause, it’s more likely something is wrong with the gauge cluster itself.

Here are our top pro tips to help you diagnose and fix your temperature gauge.

  • If you see a dip, or even a fluctuation, in your fuel economy, you may have a faulty temperature sensor or thermostat; both aid the car's ECU in determining how much fuel goes into the engine.
  • A check engine light may also tell you that something's amiss. The same with leaking coolant.

Since you may not have access to the right tools, we also compiled a list of our best hacks to make your life easier and drain your pocket less.

  • If you're stuck by the roadside with a radiator leak, and only a grocery store in sight, you can plug the leak by pouring an uncooked egg white into the radiator filler hole (don't use the yoke; it can plug up the heater core). This should only be done in an emergency, but it works.
  • If your car is overheating, turn on your heater and open up the windows. The heater will help dissipate the heat from the engine.

How Often Do You Need To Replace Your Thermostat or Temperature Sensor?

Automakers build these parts to survive and often you won't know it's time to replace one until it fails.

How Often Do You Need To Flush Your Radiator?

About every 30, miles or every third oil change for most modern cars.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Chevrolet Cruze Owners Manual: Engine Coolant Temperature Gauge

This gauge shows the engine coolant temperature.

This gauge shows the engine coolant temperature.

If the indicator needle moves to the hot side of the gauge toward the H or shaded area, the engine is too hot.

If the vehicle has been operated under normal driving conditions, pull off the road, stop the vehicle, and turn off the engine as soon as possible.

Fuel Gauge
When the ignition is on, the fuel gauge indicates about how much fuel is left in the tank. An arrow on the fuel gauge indicates the side of the vehicle the fuel door is on. A FUEL LEVEL LOW me
Safety Belt Reminders
Driver Safety Belt Reminder Light There is a driver safety belt reminder light on the instrument cluster. When the vehicle is started, this light flashes and a chime may come on to remind the dr
Other materials:

For vehicles with a removable ashtray, the ashtray can be placed into the front console cupholders. To open the ashtray, lift the lid of the ashtray. After using, close the lid. To empty the ashtray for cleaning, slightly turn the upper part of the ashtray counterclockwise and remove it. Noti

Servicing the Airbag-Equipped Vehicle
Airbags affect how the vehicle should be serviced. There are parts of the airbag system in several places around the vehicle. Your dealer and the service manual have information about servicing the vehicle and the airbag system. WARNING For up to 10 seconds after the vehicle is turned off and

If route guidance is not active, press the Destination Entry screen button on the Home Page to access the Destination Entry screen. Several options can be selected to plan a route by entering destinations. Some destination entry items such as Previous Destinations, Address Book, and My Home

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Your engine works hard to produce power and with that power, it heats up to nearly degrees Fahrenheit and that’s just an average temperature day. In the summer, the heat of your engine, paired with the summer sun, and heat rising from the asphalt, can reach temperatures close to degrees Fahrenheit. The radiator circulating coolant throughout the engine is the only defense your vehicle has to prevent it from overheating. Luckily, your temperature gauge keeps you informed of the current temperature to let you know if your engine is getting too hot and if it’s time to pull over.

Vehicle temperature gauge

What is a Temperature Gauge?

A car temp gauge indicates the current temperature of the coolant in your vehicle’s engine. It lets you know if the coolant is cool, normal, or hot. Coolant circulates through the entire engineand absorbs the heat

produced by the combustion within the cylinders. The heat is then released into the atmosphere, as it moves through the radiator.  The temperature gauge utilizes a sensor, located near or in the thermostat housing, to send an electrical signal through the vehicle’s internal computer corresponding to the specific coolant temperature, giving the gauge on your dashboard an accurate reading of the temperature.


Temperature Matters

Whether the temperature gauge is telling you the coolant is cool, normal, or hot, it’s always a good idea to keep your eye on it while driving. Any number of things can change the temperature of your vehicle almost instantly.


Temperature Gauge is Cold

While the average driver of a modern vehicle won’t have to worry about the engine running cold, certain high-performance vehicles may limit RPMs until the motor has warmed up. Even in winter’s coldest temperatures, it’s unnecessary to warm up your car. Most vehicles today are fuel-injected and special sensors work in conjunction with your vehicle’s internal computer to produce the correct air to fuel mixture regardless of the temperature. If your car has sat immobile for a few hours, it’s normal for the temperature gauge to show a cold reading for a few minutes after start-up. Of course, it may take a bit longer for it to come up to a normal temperature in extremely cold temperatures. However, if the temperature gauge remains cold for a significant amount of time after you’ve been driving, something may be wrong. While the severity of the problem is much less than an overheating engine, it’s should still be looked at by a technician. You may get a cold reading if you have a faulty temperature gauge or the thermostat is stuck in an open position. If it’s the latter, your vehicle may not be able to produce enough heat to use the defroster or heater, which can be dangerous in severe winter weather.

Temperature Gauge is Normal

When the engine is functioning, and the coolant is doing its job, the temperature gauge needle should be somewhere in the middle between the hot and cold indicators. “Normal” temperature reading can vary from vehicle to vehicle so don’t be alarmed where yours settles. As long as the needle is somewhere in the middle, it’s normal. Even if the engine is being cooled properly, there are days depending on the condition where the vehicle may run hotter than usual. This is often due to stop and go driving in hotter temperatures, especially during the summer. You may also notice an uptick in temperature if you’re towing or hauling a heavy load and running the air conditioning at the maximum speed. Keep your eye on the needle and monitor it closely. You do not want your car temperature gauge hot.

Temperature Gauge Running Hot

Is your car temperature gauge high? Your car may be dangerously close to overheating. The key to avoiding an overheating vehicle is prevention. Allowing your vehicle to overheat repeatedly can cause severe and permanent damage to the engine which may result in costly repairs or replacement. Engines that run too hot also cause other components to warp or crack. Once you have identified that the temperature gauge is continuing to rise, you can attempt to prevent your car from overheating by:

    1. Turning off the air conditioning and roll down the windows.
    2. Turn on the heater. Turning on the heater works by transferring heat away from the engine. For best results, use the floor vents and turn the blower on full blast.
    3. Pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and turn off the engine. Open the hood and allow the open-air to aid in releasing some of the heat. Be careful, though, as the hood may be hot to the touch.
    4. Call for a professional to help.


Professional Care

Temperature gauges are usually a fairly reliable tool and abnormal readings are usually a result of the engine’s current temperature. However, they can malfunction. If you notice your temperature gauge needle moving irregularly or communicating an inaccurate temperature, unreasonable to current conditions or without symptoms, it may be defective. The cause may be related to bad wiring, a bad connection, or a problem with the coolant temperature switch, and even a problem with the vehicle’s internal computer. The only way to determine the cause is to contact a professional technician.


Sun Devil Auto technicians take your vehicle’s care very seriously. We understand that you need your vehicle to get you to work, school, or home problem free. We can help keep your vehicle running without disruption to your lifestyle with routine maintenance and repairs and in most cases the same day. Maintaining your vehicle is the best way to keep your vehicle working efficiently. The best way to help prevent your temperature gauge from producing a hot reading is to ensure your vehicle receives a coolant flush every 30,  to 50, miles. Schedule your next maintenance service with Sun Devil Auto to experience quality work and exceptional customer service at prices less than the dealer!

Chevy Cruze radiator sensor - AC off/engine temp needle not moving

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