Q: Car is losing power and the temperature gauge reads high.

asked by on October 20, 2016

My cars temperature gage goes up to almost the red line, but goes back down to the middle. Now it's doing that plus losing pull. What could be causing this?

My car has 139000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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Hello. From what you’ve described, most likely, your engine has had a head gasket failure, perhaps because of a failed thermostat - which could cause the "temperature way up, then backs off" cycle you describe. A failed head gasket means that at least 1, and possibly 2, of your 4 cylinders are not developing normal power.

In your case, it would appear that the failed head gasket is leaking combustion pressure into the cooling system, essentially "super-heating" the coolant. The radiator may be cooling the engine down enough in some driving scenarios, but not others.

I would recommend having a overheating inspection completed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, to diagnose this problem before additional damage occurs, get an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

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