Q: Despite the replacement of all facets of the cooling system, in stop and go traffic, my temperature gauge spikes.

asked by on July 16, 2017

My temperature gauge spikes in stop-and-go traffic, or full scale jams, but there is no boiling, and no steam. In other words, it does not seem to be overheating in any traditional sense of the term. Once out of the traffic jam or the stop-and-go traffic, the temperature gauge will return quickly to normal. At this point, I have replaced both fans, the relay, the thermostat, and the sensor, and none of these fixes has worked. The radiator was replaced a year ago. When the temperature gauge spikes, the only place I feel any excess heat is along the sides of the engine. The center, the radiator, etc. All seem fine.

My car has 130000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi There, What you are describing sounds like a fan clutch that may be wearing out. A mechanical fan clutch works by helping to control the radiator cooling fan speeds as the engine heats up and cools down. As the motor heats up, the clutch causes the fan to spin faster to help draw more air into the radiator to cool the engine down. As the engine temperature cools down, the fan begins to disengage and spins slower. There are typically two types of fan clutches. The most common is one that is filled with fluid and uses a bi-metallic sensory system similar to that of a thermostat. The second type is an electrically controlled fan that is operated based upon various electrical inputs (i.e. engine oil temperature, coolant temperature, AC system pressures, etc.) that help to control when the fan speeds up or slows down. What you are hearing is likely the fan working harder more often than it should be. I would suggest having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle to determine what may be causing this.

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