Temperature Gauge High but Car Not Overheating

Naomi O'Colman

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Temperature Gauge High but Car Not Overheating

Temperature Gauge High but Car Not Overheating

When your vehicle’s temperature gauge continues to rise while you’re driving, it can be incredibly aggravating. It’s not amusing. This symbol signifies that the temperature of your vehicle’s engine is rising, which is an issue. Drivers who are unsure what to do become even more irritated. But don’t fret; today I’ll explain the reasons why temperature gauge high but car not overheating.

What Is the Function of The Temperature Gauge?

The temperature gauge monitors and regulates the temperature of your engine. The temperature gauge is supposed to read in the center under normal conditions, suggesting that your engine isn’t too hot or too cold. However, if your engine’s temperature rises too high, it might become a serious problem. Overheating might cause your engine’s seals to fail or the head to shatter.

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The temperature gauge does not always work correctly, and a high reading can indicate that the engine is overheating. In some circumstances, though, the gauge can cause problems. In fact, the temperature gauge rising in value does not necessarily imply that the engine is overheating. A defective temperature gauge could also be at blame.

Reasons for Temperature Gauge High but Car Not Overheating

The following are some of the most typical reasons for an erroneous reading:

1. A temperature gauge that isn’t working properly

The temperature gauge is constructed of elements that are readily damaged. However, after looking into other possible explanations, this issue should be considered as one of the last. When confined in a hot part, the needle part of a temperature gauge, for example, can easily be damaged. The operation of this needle can be influenced by a number of gears in your vehicle’s temperature gauge. If the gauge does not offer a consistent reading, this is a hint that this is the problem.

If your vehicle’s radiator cap is not correctly tightened, the temperature gauge may display an incorrect reading. Also, keep in mind that a defective temperature gauge might cause the engine to overheat despite the temperature gauge remaining normal.

2. A faulty water pump

The water pump in the car is basically the coolant pump, so the name is a little misleading. In any case, the water pump’s job is to distribute cooling fluids throughout the engine.

When the water pump breaks, the engine will soon heat up while idling. However, after the car is moving, you may notice that the temperature goes back to normal. This is most likely due to the greater airflow generated by a fast car compensating for the absence of coolant circulation.

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If you’ve determined that the problem is caused by your water pump, you should get it changed as soon as possible.

3. Temperature sensor failed

The temperature sensor is used to determine the engine’s temperature. If the temperature gauge reads high when the engine is not overheating, you may be getting a false measurement. This indicates that the temperature sensor has failed or has malfunctioned.

Because a malfunctioning sensor isn’t sending out a reading, the car may respond by sending out a bogus high-temperature gauge reading rather than an accurate one.

If the sensor is stuck or has debris on it, it may become impaired while driving. Additionally, if the sensor’s connections are destroyed, the sensor will be ruined. Clean and inspect your temperature sensor if you get a bogus high-temperature reading.

4. Overheating radiator

A clogged radiator is another possible reason for a high engine temperature gauge reading. A clogged radiator, like a malfunctioning water pump, will cause an engine to heat up when idle but cool down when the car is driving.

If your radiator is old and rusted, it may become blocked, and if you use old or low-quality coolant, it may also become clogged. If the damage isn’t too severe, you might be able to fix the problem by draining the cooling system and refilling it with a new coolant.

5. A blown head gasket

One of the causes of the temperature gauge rising but the car not overheating could be a faulty head gasket. If you observe any head gasket blown symptoms, it signifies the head gasket is forming the seal between the engine block and the cylinder head. As a result, the seal through which the engine oil goes, as well as the combustion chamber and coolant, are unprotected. Coolant leakage can be caused by a broken head gasket.

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6. Insufficient coolant or air in the system

If the engine is overheated, the temperature gauge may indicate hot. The most typical cause is a lack of coolant or air in the system. If the gauge is reading hot, double-check that your engine isn’t overheating. Make sure you have coolant and that no air got into the system when you changed the coolant.

How to Fix Temperature Gauge High but Car Not Overheating?

You should be alarmed if you detect a steady rise in the temperature of your vehicle’s temperature gauge. Put your car in park and turn off the motor right away. Any further engine problems would be avoided if this first step was taken. Now you must determine the nature of the problem before deciding what to do.

  • The fix for the damaged temp gauge

If your temperature gauge is damaged, you may need to take your automobile to a repair or, better yet, hire a mechanic to replace the needle. It should only take a few minutes.

  • The fix for broken water pump/head gasket

If your water pump or head gasket has broken, you may easily fix or replace it. You can unwind. It is not a costly repair, but it will necessitate the assistance of a professional.

  • The fix for the damaged temperature sensor

If your temperature sensor is damaged, you can quickly replace it and be back on the road. All you have to do now is clean the sensor of any dirt or dust. You should replace the sensor if it does not work. You might need the assistance of a mechanic to get this done swiftly.

  • The fix for a broken radiator cap

You’ll need to replace a broken radiator cap with a new one. If you have the technical know-how, you can install it yourself in no time, but you must first ascertain that the engine isn’t really hot and get the correct cap for your vehicle.

  • The fix for low coolant

If you notice that the coolant in your vehicle’s radiator is very low, you should fill it through the coolant tank. Because the coolant level in your vehicle’s radiator can steadily deplete over time, you should check the radiator and coolant reservoir on a frequent basis. The mechanic will need to drain the old coolant and correctly replenish it.

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If you still observe a significant decline in your radiator’s coolant level after refilling, please take your car to a mechanic shop for a thorough inspection.

NOTE: When faced with an abnormally high temperature, most drivers turn off the air conditioning and check the temperature gauge before determining what to do; however, this is not necessary because the source of the abrupt spike in engine temperature is unknown. You shouldn’t waste your time with this.


Examine the temperature sensor and the mechanical component of the temperature gauge if you’re receiving high readings when the engine isn’t overheating. If your engine continues to overheat, you should have it checked by a skilled mechanic to avoid serious damage to your car.

Always inspect the different components of your car before starting it up to drive, and follow your vehicle’s maintenance plan.  This can reduce the likelihood of your vehicle having troubles that result in the car running hot but not overheating or any other engine problem.