Home » Car » Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down While Driving: Causes & Fix
Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down While Driving

Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down While Driving: Causes & Fix

The rise and fall of the temperature gauge needles on the dashboard are average when we start and operate the car.
However, if the range of motion of this part is suddenly too erratic or even stationary, it means something has gone wrong. So what are the main factors causing this abnormal condition, and how to fix it? Let’s have a look at the article below.

What Is The Thermometer In The Car Used For?

The thermometer is a part that any car has available on the dashboard if you do not know. Like other measuring devices, thermometers often have a hand that indicates the same number of lines with different colors.

The feature that distinguishes them from the watch, only the remaining parameters are the thermometer icon on the background of a wavy pattern. The primary use of the heat meter is to indicate how hot and cold the coolant is inside the engine.

What Is Normal For A Watch To Move?

What Is Normal For A Watch To Move
A standard temperature gauge will stay at zero and rise as you operate the vehicle. This change indicates that the refrigerant is at average temperature when the car is idle and warms up when the engine runs. This process usually takes place at a relatively slow pace.

In addition, the clock’s hands tend to be stable at the center, the position indicating the optimal temperature of the coolant in the engine. After stopping the vehicle, the needle on the thermometer will gradually return to zero from the equilibrium level.

What Does It Mean When Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down While Driving?

If the needle is slightly out of balance or there is some fluctuation during the vehicle’s operation, you do not need to worry too much because it is entirely normal.

However, in case the needle moves continuously, exceeds the balance threshold for a long time, or stays in a position without moving, then you probably need to check again to make sure it is safe. Constant fluctuations can often signify an engine overheating because the coolant cannot generally move to critical components.

While the clock is stationary, it has a lot to do with the operation of the internal structural details of this part. Of course, there are many more reasons for this problem.

What Causes Car Temperature Gauge To Go Up And Down?

What Causes Car Temperature Gauge To Go Up And Down
Here are some common causes of abnormal temperature gauge movement.

Stuck-Closed Thermostat

The thermostat plays a significant role in regulating and balancing the temperature inside the engine. Because this detail is responsible for cooling the cooling water to ensure that the solvent is always at the right temperature to cool down the internal components.

If the thermostat has problems such as jams or leaks, the information on the thermometer will also be affected. The most typical situation is the thermometer continuously rising and falling when the cooling water does not circulate properly, leading to an extensive temperature fluctuation range.

Engine getting Overheated

Engine overheating is one of the most common problems one can think of when noticing a vehicle’s temperature gauge malfunction. Because at this time, the temperature sensor will record too high a temperature, keeping the clock hand always standing above the balance level.

In some cases, the clock will move continuously at the highest level and then return to equilibrium due to the late arrival of the cooling water. Usually, if the engine is overheated and the condition of the clock moving abnormally, there will be an AC only works when driving.

Lousy Radiator Fan

When the vehicle is not moving fast enough or stops altogether, the radiator fan will create air to cool the engine. In other words, this part is responsible for cooling down the engine when there is no support for natural airflow.

Therefore, a damaged radiator fan can lead to the engine overheating, causing an abnormality in the temperature gauge.

Head Gasket Blown

If you find the watch’s hands occasionally increase suddenly and then fall back to balance, there is an excellent chance that the head gasket has a problem.

This part is usually located between the cylinder head and the engine block and is responsible for maintaining the combustion process and allowing the coolant to circulate more easily. Because of such an important role, the failure of the head gasket will be very evident through the engine’s temperature.

Bad Radiator

A damaged radiator will not adjust the coolant temperature to the appropriate level, thereby inadvertently causing the engine to operate at high temperatures continuously.

In addition, if you use poor-quality heat sinks with incomplete construction, you will also face the risk of engine damage due to overheating.

Faulty Cooling System

When the cooling system fails, the cooling water will not move to the areas that need to be adequately cooled. So if this situation is encountered, there is a high chance that the heat meter will move chaotically, and the engine temperature is constantly changing.

Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down While Driving

How To Fix If Car Temperature Gauge Goes Up And Down

Here are some methods you can do yourself at home to temporarily deal with a constantly moving heat meter situation. But it is best that you still need a specialist to get the best diagnosis.

Replacing a Defective Thermostat Valve

Although the thermostat plays an important role, it is pretty easy to repair this part. In addition, replacement parts are also very cheap, and you can easily find them at car parts stores.

Replacing A Faulty Coolant Temperature Sensor

Replacing the coolant temperature sensor (CTS) can quickly get your vehicle’s temperature gauge back to normal. Because if the other components are still working correctly, then there is a high chance that the failure takes place in the temperature gauge itself and precisely in the CTS.

Repair costs when this situation occurs

The essential cost of dealing with simple problems will range from $100 to $250 depending on the part that needs replacing. This figure includes labor or inspection fees plus the fee for each new piece.

Of course, older models will require you to spend more money to find replacement parts. And if damage occurs in essential features, you may have to pay a large amount of money to deal with it.


The temperature gauge is one of the means to help us control the temperature inside the engine. So if you recognize an abnormality in this part, it is best to take the car to the repair point as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary damage later.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *