What To Do When The Temperature Gauge In Your Car Is Too High

Posted on: 29 August 2016


Driving in the summer has great connotations; driving with the windows down and enjoying the summer sun, or driving to that perfect vacation spot. It also can spell trouble if the temperature gauge in your car starts to creep up and stay there. If you notice that your car is running a little hot, there are some things you can do and some definite steps to keep it from happening and ruining your fun.

What to Do?

The first thing you should do if you notice your engine temperature creeping higher than normal is to find a safe spot to pull over. If you can't find somewhere immediately, roll down your windows and turn your heater on full blast. Once you find a place to pull over, come to a stop and check the hood. If you see steam coming from anywhere, let the car cool and don't lift the hood. The steam could burn you or the radiator cap could pop off and injure you.

If there is no steam, lift the hood and let the engine cool. It takes roughly thirty minutes for an engine to completely cool. Don't mess with anything, despite your inclination to start fiddling. The radiator is still under pressure and trying to remove the cap can cause a severe injury. When the engine has cooled, add a 50/50 mix of coolant and water to the reservoir. If you don't have any coolant, add plain water to the reservoir until you can get coolant.

Why It Happens

In general, your car's temperature gauge climbs because it's not getting enough coolant. This can be caused by one of several things. If it's been a while since you've checked your coolant or topped it up, some of the coolant might have evaporated and just needs topped off. If you just added coolant, you may have a leak in one of the hoses or joints. You could also have a leak in the radiator itself.

If your coolant is full, there are still reasons why your car is overheating. Your water pump may need replacing or there could be a block in one of the lines. Another possibility is that the thermal sensor needs replaced.

While a high temperature gauge may not seem like it's something to be overly concerned about, if left unattended it can have drastic consequences. Your best bet is to take care of the issue immediately and find out why it is happening. If you aren't sure, contact your auto repair professional for a full diagnostic.