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Temp gauge drops out,it goes up half way then goes down

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
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The engine overheating would be my main concern, at the moment. Have you ever checked or changed the thermostat? Can you check coolant flow through the radiator. If no coolant flow, I'd want to check for blockage or check the water pump. Does the radiator have a radiator cap? If so, on a cold engine, remove the cap, start the vehicle if the coolant level starts rising quickly, you may have to check for head gasket issue?
What is year--make--model?

Posted on Dec 16, 2016

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What year , make and model vehicle ! Probably the gauge is bad , but that would be a guess , without testing , hooking up a scan tool to check temp data in the PCM - engine computer ! On most all vehicles the temp sensor is a input to the PCM/ECM . And again all vehicles have a serial data communication network for the control modules on the vehicle to share information on. How to Diagnose Controller Area Network CAN

Posted on Dec 16, 2016

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1 Answer

Temperature gauge goes up down


that is a strange one , i think the problem is with the exterior temp sender as the fan cutting in and temp gauge falling is what you'd expect ,try diconnecting the exterior temp gauge ,may be a fuse for it ,if that is all ok i'd get the ECU checked as may be getting a short let me know how it goes

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The car is not overheating if the temp gauge goes up and down by turning the lights on and off.  The gauge is giving you bad information.   You can confirm this by starting the car from cold, sitting in the driveway, let the temp go to somewhere BEFORE normal operating temp, then turn on headlights and fan blower on high, watch the gauge, then turn them off.   If the gauge moves significantly from the electrical load, you probably have a short or a bad ground connection.  

You have a short circuit or bad wiring somewhere in the front half of the car.  I don't know what thermostat switch you have replaced ... but it's not the problem .. stop buying them.  
If you are the original owner, was there an accident that may have damaged some wiring?  If you bought the car second hand,  get a carfax and find out where the thing was hit ... concentrate your wiring trouble shooting in that area.

I think it is something OTHER than the temperature sending unit or the gauge

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