Common Reasons for Car Temperature Gauge Fluctuation

Car Temperature Gauge Fluctuation

Cars with internal combustion systems generate a lot of heat energy, due to which they require proper functioning cooling systems. One important component of a cooling system is the car temperature gauge. A car temperature gauge determines the health of the engine by monitoring the coolant’s level. That said, a faulty car temperature gauge can show fluctuations which might require immediate attention. Such an issue, if not treated timely, may sum up to broader mechanical issues that might be beyond repair. 

Car temperature gauge fluctuation can indicate a range of underlying issues. Let’s go through the common reasons for car temperature gauge fluctuation and their solutions. 

Function of Car Temperature Gauge

function of car temperature gauge
A car temperature gauge monitors the engine’s health by measuring the coolant’s temperature

The car temperature gauge helps to monitor the engine’s health. It is an important component of a car instrumentation cluster as it measures the temperature of the engine’s coolant. 

The gauge is calibrated to show a temperature range, with the normal temperature indicated by a midpoint on the gauge. If the gauge shows a reading beyond or below the normal temperature, it signifies an issue with the car’s engine or cooling system. Such issues require you to take immediate action to prevent further damage.

Reasons Why Car Temperature Gauge Fluctuates

While the car temperature gauge is often overlooked, it is crucial to keep track of whether it fluctuates too high or low. Detailed below are some of the common reasons why car temperature gauge fluctuates. 

Faulty Car Thermostat

faulty thermostat can disrupt flow of coolant causing car temperature gauge fluctuations
A faulty thermostat is one of the common reasons for car temperature gauge fluctuations

The thermostat is responsible for regulating the engine’s temperature by controlling the flow of coolant. A faulty thermostat can cause the coolant to flow erratically resulting in temperature gauge fluctuation. 

Also, a closed stuck thermostat obstructs coolant flow as a result, the engine won’t cool down due to overheating. Whereas, if the thermostat is stuck open, the temperature drops below normal leading to trouble getting heat from the HVAC system. 

How to fix this issue

A bad thermostat must be replaced by an auto expert. However, you can do it as well by following this step-by-step procedure for fixing a faulty car thermostat. 

Cooling System Leaks

Leaks in the cooling system can cause a loss of coolant from the reservoir. As a result, the engine overheats eventually causing car temperature gauge fluctuations. 

How to fix this issue

To address the issue, find a leak in the cooling system first and then determine the severity of the leak. Minor leaks can be repaired with a sealant while major ones require the replacement of the cooling system. 

Low Coolant Level

low coolant level does not efficiently takes up engine heat
Low coolant levels can also cause car temperature gauge fluctuations, so it must be refilled to an optimal level

A low coolant level can cause the engine to overheat, resulting in the car temperature gauge fluctuation. While it must not be encouraged, some people mix a high quantity of water with the coolant. 

This causes the car temperature gauge to show a higher reading as the increased water level cannot carry heat away from the engine as the coolant does. That is why you must replace the coolant if the car temperature gauge fluctuates because of it. 

How to fix this issue

A low coolant level can be corrected by refilling the level up to the optimal mark in the reservoir. Also, make sure that the car coolant reservoir is neither overfilled nor underfilled as it will cause car temperature gauge fluctuations.

Damaged Water Pump

The water pump circulates the coolant through the engine’s cooling system. A damaged water pump can lead to insufficient coolant circulation which causes car temperature gauge fluctuations.

How to fix this issue

A damaged water pump needs immediate replacement if there are signs of leaks, corrosion or worn-out bearings. Seek help from an auto expert to get the damaged water pump replaced.

Clogged Radiator

A clogged radiator can restrict coolant flow, leading to engine overheating and temperature gauge fluctuation. 

How to fix this issue

To fix the clogging, you must flush the car radiator with water or replace it as a whole if it is damaged beyond repair. While cleaning the radiator, use a soft-bristled brush or a specialised radiator cleaning tool to remove any debris or dirt from the radiator fins. Be gentle to avoid damaging the fins. If you are a newbie at car maintenance, better let a professional do it. 

Faulty temperature sensor

damaged temperature sensor can cause car temperature fluctuations
A malfunctioning temperature sensor can send incorrect readings to the temperature gauge

The temperature sensor is responsible for sending temperature readings to the gauge. A malfunctioning coolant temperature sensor can provide inaccurate readings causing car temperature fluctuations. 

Moreover, electrical problems with the temperature gauge or its wiring can cause it to fluctuate as well.

How to fix this issue

A faulty coolant temperature sensor must be replaced immediately. Go through this step-by-step process of car coolant temperature sensor check and replacement to get the task done in no time.

Damaged Computer Module

If you notice an oddly functioning car temperature gauge, it can be due to a bad engine control module or car computer module. Data from the engine and other systems in the vehicle is transmitted through this component. 

Similarly, data from the car’s cooling system is transmitted to the computer module which then causes the temperature gauge to move. Therefore, a damaged computer module can be responsible for car temperature gauge fluctuations as well as issues with other systems.

How to fix this issue

It is advised to seek the assistance of a qualified auto technician to diagnose and repair a damaged computer module. They have the expertise and specialised equipment necessary to properly identify and fix the problem. 

This wraps the guide on car temperature gauge fluctuations, their possible causes and fixes. Although one might often overlook the temperature gauge, it is a crucial component as it determines the coolant’s health and eventually the engine’s functionality. That said, it is important to check the engine components thoroughly before buying a used car in the UAE to avoid hefty repairs in near future. 

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