Q: The temperature gauge goes above middle too hot

asked by on September 22, 2016

At times when I'm driving the temperature gauge goes from the middle too hot and it's not overheating or water is not coming out of the bottom of the engine but what is the problem could be having

My car has 228590 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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If the gauge is moving into "hot" territory, then the car is overheating. You will not necessarily leak water during an overheat. Overheating can be the result of a couple of different failures. I will start with the easiest to check for / most common and move into the more difficult / less common.

  1. Check the coolant level in the radiator. DO NOT REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP UNTIL THE CAR IS COMPLETELY COOL. If the coolant is not full, this can cause an overheat.
  2. If the radiator is full, check to make sure the fans are turning on. Pop the hood and let the car run until it reaches operating temperature. Keep the radio off and keep your ears open for the sound of the fan triggering on and off. If the fan is not triggering, then you may have a bad relay. If you notice the gauge moving up and no fans are spinning, then turn the car off.
  3. Sometimes the water pump isn’t working. This is more rare, but I’ve seen it happen. Usually, this is due to the water pump belt breaking or being exceptionally loose. However, water pumps do fail internally sometimes. If the impeller isn’t turning, the coolant isn’t circulating and that will cause an overheat.

With 228590 miles, it could be any of the above problems. If you need help with this, a qualified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the overheating issue and assist with the appropriate repairs.

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