Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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.

A: Hello. From what you’ve described, most lik...

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I got a code for my EVAP (P1457)

First, it is not the PCV. (positive crankcase ventilation) The PCV is there to relieve pressure and gases from the crankcase. The evaporative system keeps the fuel in the fuel tank from evaporating into the atmosphere. They are two separate...

Q: Temperature gauge fluctuates

Hi there, thanks for your question. Temperature gauge fluctuation could be due a faulty temperature gauge or a faulty thermostat. If tested with a radar gun, this would be an external temperature source for testing the temperature, which would indicate...

Q: I've got a 04 Sebring leaking oil out of the bottom of the head and there's oil on the plugs. The coolant and oil have not mixed!

The oil leaks should be pinpointed in a leak diagnostic. If oil is leaking at the head gasket, the head has to be removed but prior to placement of a new gasket the head and block have to be very...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...