Q: What do I do if the temperature gauge moves into the red?

asked by on December 15, 2015

What do I do if the temperature gauge moves into the red?

Your Accord is equipped with a temperature gauge that shows you how hot or cold the engine coolant is. During normal operation, it should stay in the middle of the range. If it moves into the red, though, you need to do something immediately. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pull off the road in a safe location.

  2. Put the car in park (or in neutral with the parking brake on if you have a stick shift).

  3. Turn off all accessories (air conditioner, radio, etc.).

  4. If steam is coming from under the hood, turn off the engine. Do not open the hood until the steam has stopped.

  5. If there’s no steam visible, watch the temperature gauge. If it begins to drop immediately, chances are good it was overloaded (driving in hills, towing a trailer, etc.).

  6. If the temperature gauge drops, wait until it reaches normal and then get back on the road.

  7. if the temperature gauge does not drop, turn the engine off.

  8. Open the hood (if there’s no steam).

  9. Inspect the radiator hoses and other components for a leak. (DO NOT touch any components – they’re hot!).

  10. Any damaged components (radiator hoses, radiator, reservoir, etc.) must be replaced/repaired before you can drive the car.

  11. If nothing appears damaged, check the coolant level in the reservoir. Top it off (above the minimum mark).

  12. If the reservoir was completely empty, you may need to top off the radiator too. Wait until it is cool to the touch to open and fill it.

  13. To fill the radiator: Crank the engine and turn your heat on full. Now, fill the radiator until coolant is just below the level of the neck. Top off the reservoir as well.

  14. Replace the radiator cap.

  15. Run the engine and watch the temp gauge.

  16. If it cools down, check the reservoir and top it off to the max line. You can continue driving.

  17. If it does not cool down, do not drive the car.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

How do you check the manual transmission fluid?

Your car’s manual transmission needs fluid just like an automatic transmission does. It’s necessary for lubrication, for preventing friction and for maintaining pressure inside the transmission itself. If the fluid gets low, you may experience problems with shifting and driving....

How do I wear a seat belt?

Seat belts are incredibly important safety features that can save your life, or greatly reduce injury in an accident. It’s vital that you wear your seat belt correctly. Here are some things that you should always check after buckling your...

My 2003 Honda CR-V won’t accelerate past 40 mph and it starts to kick at 40. The mileage has dropped the past few months too

If the emissions or check engine light is on, there will be stored codes which might provide relevant clues as to the underlying fault. Among common possibilities for the loss of power you are are describing are throttle body faults...

Related articles

A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Jeep Wrangler
With With some subtle updates, improvements, and increases in size, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler maintains the model’s familiar and rugged look and feel. While the style of the Wrangler may not have changed much, though, its function has definitely been...
A Buyer's Guide to the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec
If If you love a diesel engine in your SUV, but still want to ride around in luxury, your perfect vehicle may very well be the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec. Key Features The most important feature worth noting is...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Dodge Charger
If If you’ve always loved driving performance cars but you don't know how you’ll fit a baby seat in a Mustang or a Camaro, the 2012 Dodge Charger could be the car for you. While it has the room and...