Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Overheating and then goes down to normal

asked by on

I start the car and after a few minutes of driving it overheats. The temp gage goes up to the red, stays for several seconds and it drops down to normal temp (half way). It then stays normal for the rest of the trip.

My car has 100000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

There are two principal possibilities that would explain what you are seeing. If the dash gauge stays in the overheating (red) zone for literally seconds, that would suggest that the gauge, sending unit and/or wiring has a fault. Typically, if an engine is really overheating, the overheating is not resolved within seconds and so a "gauge-related" malfunction would seem a strong possibility. It is also possible to have a sticky thermostat, but the stickiness is probably not such that engine temperature, as you indicate it as reported on the gauge, would fluctuate as rapidly as you report. I would recommend requesting a diagnostic on the temperature gauge which would include consideration of whether the engine is even overheating, too. Note that using an ordinary infrared thermometer, applied at the right areas of the engine, will give you a basic idea as to whether your engine is running too hot or too cold. The bottom line is if you request a diagnostic on the gauge, a certified mechanic will get this promptly resolved for you.

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!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Overheating and then goes down to normal

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: How do I use the armrest in the rear seat?

If there are only one or two passengers in the rear seat, they can pull down the arm rest to use it for a cup holder or to rest their arms. Tip To prevent damage, don’t place too much pressure...

Q: Stalling vehicle when vdc and slip light comes on

Hi there. I've seen this same concern during my tenure as a Nissan service manager. What usually happens is the wire harness to those sensors becomes brittle and loose. When this happens, it does need to be replaced/repaired. The odds...

Q: Check engine light on & oil pressure dropped

Hello. It is possible that you are getting a false reading as a result of a faulty oil pressure switch. It is also possible that there is an oil leak and that’s what is causing the oil pressure to drop....

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...