The temperature gauge measures the temperature of your car’s engine coolant. It is important to take note of this gauge because it will tell you if your engine is overheating. Typically, the gauge should read “cold” when you start the car and get warmer as you drive.
1. You have lost coolant. This may mean a small leak or gradual evaporation. Check your engine to make sure you have enough coolant and add more if necessary.
2. The thermostat is broken. A malfunctioning thermostat may not be letting coolant into the engine.
3. There is a water pump or a water pump gasket failure. This failure may cause the engine to overheat.
If you notice the temperature gauge is reading higher than average, and it is not particularly hot outside, you should have your car’s cooling system checked out as soon as possible. If the temperature warning light comes on or the gauge reads higher than average while driving, you should safely pull over to the side of the road. It is likely that your car’s engine is overheating and further driving may cause severe engine damage.
You can turn on your car’s heater to cool down the engine as you pull over. If it is hot outside, you can also roll down the windows and direct the air vents away from passengers. This is a quick way to cool down the engine as you look for a place to pull over to check the engine’s coolant and water levels. You should never open a hot radiator. If needed, you can add water through the overflow tank.