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Q: Car takes about 20-30 minutes of driving to reach operating temperature

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My car takes extremely long to reach operating temperature. And when it finally does reach it, it seems to drop down to the first quarter of the thermostat gauge while I'm driving. For example, I'll drive somewhere 15 minutes away, I'll get there and my cars temperature gauge hasn't left the first quarter. But if I turn the car off and turn it back on 5 minutes later, it will say that my temperature is right in the middle (operating temp). My heat works fine and is hot it just doesn't blow from the center fans for more than 30 seconds. It comes out good and hot from the windshield vents and foot vents.

My car has 132000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

A: Replacing the thermostat should solve this ...

Replacing the thermostat should solve this problem. The thermostat is supposed to keep the cooling water from circulating through the radiator until the engine reaches operating temperature. The reason your temperature seems to rise when you park the car is that until the engine fully warms up, different parts of the engine are at different temperatures. When you shut off the engine and the coolant stops circulating, the heat in the warmer parts of the engine distributes to the cooler parts until everything is almost uniform. As soon as you start the car, the coolant circulates again and sends that heat out through the radiator. It’s important that your engine reach proper operating temperature for best performance and efficiency. If you don’t want to take on the job yourself, YourMechanic can send a technician to your home to replace the thermostat and check out the rest of the cooling system for you at your convenience.

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