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Why Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up and Down

Why Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up and Down

It is necessary to keep an eye on the temperature gauge especially when you are driving on road, driving uphill, or caught in a traffic jam. You must be wondering why the car temperature gauge goes up and down while driving. You must know that when the engine gets heated up, the temperature gauge goes up. It keeps rising when you are going uphill.

When the engine starts cooling off, the temperature gauge goes down and back to its normal temperature. This guide provides you with detailed information about the reasons why the car temperature gauge goes up and down, especially while driving. You will also come to know about some solutions to this problem and understand this mechanism well.

Why Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down?

When you notice the car temperature gauge is going up and down, you must be thinking about what the reason behind this happening is. There may be some defective pieces related to the engine or the cooling system is not working. You can find the reason yourself if you have some knowledge about it otherwise ask a professional about it.

Here are some of the factors or reasons associated with this issue:

1. Issue of Thermostat

When the thermostat present in your car is not working properly, it can create many troubles in your car. We know that the coolant’s temperature is regulated by the thermostat before cooling the engine. It would be best if you replace the cheap thermostat with a new one possessing high-quality material and features.

You may notice the temperature gauge is going up if the thermostat is stuck and cannot open easily. Thus, it results in heating the engine. The cars manufactured after the 1980s consist of a cooling system that comes with a reservoir tank. This tank helps in determining the coolant level. If the thermostat is stuck partially, you will surely notice the temperature gauge is going up as it increases fuel consumption.

2. Overheated Engine

When the temperature of the engine rises from 230oF, the engine becomes overheated. But if it rises from 245oF, a serious issue with the engine may occur. It is the time when you need to pay great attention to your vehicle’s engine. You may find difficulty in starting your car when the engine is overheated.

Another issue that occurs due to an overheated engine of your car is that the temperature gauge goes too high. You need to pay great attention to different parts of the car along with its engine. It is because if you do not fix it on time, it can get damaged badly and the replacement cost of an engine is also very high.

3. Problem of Radiator

If your vehicle has a partially blocked radiator, the temperature gauge of your car goes high while driving. It is because a blocked radiator does not let the engine get all the coolants required by it. If you do not fix this issue as soon as possible and neglect it, you will damage the engine badly along with other parts associated with it. You should also check if there are cracks in the tubes.

4. Damaged Water Pump

A damaged water pump can also let the car temperature go up and down, especially while driving. It is because this issue can overheat your car and also affect the cooling system. You must get your vehicle checked by a professional to find out what’s the problem with the water pump.

You must also check whether the sensors present in your car are working properly or not. One sensor is present to determine the heat level of the engine and the other is there for the cooling system. Moreover, you should also check the ignition switch. If it is faulty or damaged, get it checked immediately because it is responsible for checking the power received by the gauge.

5. Inefficient Cooling System

The temperature of your car’s gauge can rise if there is a fault in the cooling system of your car. When the cooling system of your car is not working, the water pump is not able to pump the coolant through your car’s engine. Thus, when the cooling system of your car is not working properly, the car temperature gauge goes up and down while driving and when the engine cools down, the temperature gauge goes down.

You should check the clogged components of your car and its cooling system such as water pump, thermostat, coolant level, radiator hose, or heater core when the temperature of the gauge rises. You should check the passageway of the coolant as it might be full of dust and debris.

How To Fix This Issue

Following are some ways that could let you fix the issue where the car temperature gauge rises:

1. Replace the Thermostat

You need to replace the old and cheap thermostat with a new and quality one. No doubt, it is an inexpensive task to perform. But if you do not fix it on time, it will damage other parts of your engine that will be expensive for you. Make sure you use the right tools for fixing the thermostat such as adjustable wrenches, pocket knives, screw jack, etc. You can also hire a professional for this purpose.

2. Change The Coolant Temperature Sensor

You may also need to change the coolant temperature sensor if the car temperature gauge keeps rising high, especially while driving. Your car can suffer from engine knocking if the CTS is not working properly. In this situation, the fuel is burnt unevenly. Moreover, the cost of replacing these sensors ranges from 145 dollars to 195 dollars.


If you notice there is an issue with your car’s parts like engine, fuel line, thermostat, or any other part, you must get it fixed immediately. Otherwise, the car temperature gauge rises due to overheating of the engine. The gauge temperature goes down if the engine is very cold and is not working properly. Hire a professional to have a look at it and fix it as soon as possible.

You should remove the car radiator and open the hood of your car before starting your car’s engine. If the thermostat is damaged, get it fixed immediately to maintain the car temperature gauge.

When the engine overheats, the car temperature gauge keeps rising until the engine cools down and comes back to its stable temperature level.

The car temperature gauge goes down when the engine is too cold and the oil or fuel is not getting into all the parts of your car’s engine.

The car temperature gauge starts rising when the engine’s temperature rises from 220oF.

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