Is Your Car Running Hot but Not Overheating?

overheating gauge, car running hot but not overheatingHow often do you look at your temperature gauge?  If you are like most drivers, our guess would be almost never.  Most drivers look at their temperature gauge so rarely that many vehicle manufacturers don’t even include temperature gauges any more but just lights that will come on if your car is either extremely cold or extremely hot.  However, if your car is running hot but not overheating, you might not know it without a gauge.

However, even if your vehicle has a temperature gauge it may not be telling you as much as you think.  Many factory temperature gauges are designed to read in the middle of the gauge over an extremely wide range of temperatures and may not tell you if you have a car running hot but not overheating.

f you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get an accurate reading of your coolant temperature, you may consider using a device that can read the exact temperature from your car’s coolant temperature sensor.  There are many options for tools can use but one of the most versatile is a BlueTooth OBD2 code reader and an app on your phone where you can read different values from each sensor, including the coolant temperature sensor.

If you find that you’ve got a car running hot but not overheating there might be a few reasons:

  • Clogged or damaged radiator
  • Low coolant level
  • Damaged water pump or thermostat
  • Overworked engine

Assuming your cooling system is working properly meaning it’s full of clean coolant and doesn’t have any damaged or clogged components, then it’s possible your cooling system just needs a little help to keep things at the right temperature.  To give your cooling system a boost, add BlueDevil Engine Cool to your coolant to give it that extra cooling capacity to keep your car from running hot.

You can find BlueDevil Engine Cool at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto Parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributor
  • DYK Automotive
  • Fisher Auto Parts stores
  • Auto Plus Auto Parts stores
  • Hovis Auto & Truck Supply stores
  • Salvo Auto Parts
  • Advantage Auto Stores
  • Genuine Auto Parts stores
  • Bond Auto Parts stores
  • Tidewater Fleet Supply
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
  • Any Part Auto Parts
  • Consumer Auto Parts

Pictures Provided By:

overheating_guage.jpg – By Allanswart – Licensed by Getty Images – Original Link

 

21 responses to “Is Your Car Running Hot but Not Overheating?

  1. What about this scenario: so far, this has only happened on an unseasonably warm day and a colder day, the day later. I was warming up my car like I normally do in cold weather, and I probably shouldn’t have done this on the warmer day (about 55). I was in house while car was warming up; heat was on, but not full blast. I came out about a half hour later and temp gage was ridiculously high, but not on “overheat”. As soon as I got into gear and started driving, it came down to normal and I had no issues the rest of the day, with a good amount of driving. The next day I did the same thing, although I only warmed up for about 10 minutes. Again, looks like gage was getting high. I had heat on full blast. Again, I drove car and temp gage came right down to normal. Before answering, please consider that I DO normally warm my car up in the winter for long periods of time and have never had this problem.

    1. Will-

      Based on your description, the best place to start would be to check that the thermostat is functioning properly. You can test the thermostat yourself by placing it in boiling water and ensuring it is opening up at the correct temperature. Assuming your cooling system is working properly meaning it’s full of clean coolant and doesn’t have any damaged or clogged components, then it’s possible your cooling system just needs a little help to keep things at the right temperature. To give your cooling system a boost, add BlueDevil Engine Cool to your coolant to give it that extra cooling capacity to keep your car from running hot.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

    2. Cooling fans …check to see if they come on…….if not take connectors apart and make sure there clean and in good shape…..

  2. Car isn’t overheating at all but the temperature hand goes all the way to hot,what is the problem and how can I solve it

    1. Pamela-

      If the temperature hand is going to the H indicator on the temperature guage, it would indicate overheating. Is the vehicle losing water/coolant? Please contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 so that we can get a little better understanding of the vehicle’s condition and be able to make any appropriate recommendations.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  3. whenever i sit in traffic or a long drive thru line my car begins to overheat. when i drive off it goes back down but when i turned my car off it started smoking. what could possibly be the issue?

    1. Alexus-

      Where was the white smoke coming from? Have you noticed a loss of water/coolant? Please contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 so that we can get a little better understanding of the vehicle’s condition and be able to make any appropriate recommendations.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  4. My car warms up fine. After a short drive in the city, tempreture will go up close to the red and then within seconds it will drop back down to normal. It does this every 10 minute or so. When I drive on the freeway its never does this only driving in city. I’m thinking of changing the thermostat and then flushing the radiator? Thoughts?

    1. Mike-

      Based on your description, it does sound like you are having an issue with flow, although intermittent. Checking the thermostat and flushing the cooling system would be a great place to start. A faulty thermostat and/or a contaminated cooling system could restrict circulation and cause the temperature to rise. If doing those two things doesn’t correct the issue, another component to consider would be the water pump.

      Hope this helps!

      -BDP

    2. Make sure coolant level is good……..if it’s cold out and you lose heat while idling and get heat back when your moving check fluid level……cheapest fix…

  5. My car has been losing coolant lately. The temp hand is slightly higher than usual sitting on 1/2. Usually it’s a little below that. I can’t drive it for 10 minutes before it starts steaming from under the hood because of the loss of coolant. All the time this is going on the temp hand remains at 1/2. Any ideas on what this may be?

    1. Audree-

      How quickly are you losing coolant? Typically, the temperature hand reading at the 1/2 way mark doesn’t indicate overheating and in most vehicles, actually indicates normal operating temperature. Please contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 so that we can get a little better understanding of the vehicle’s condition and be able to make any appropriate recommendations.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  6. Our radiator had a blow up in December. It got hot and spewed on the engine. We took it to a mechanic and he flushed it and refilled it. He said the coolant was like “tang” (drink). A week later we had issues with the heaert not getting hot and took it back. He fixed it and everything seemed fine. The temperature gauge then began reading at the 2/3 mark and it never went past 1/2 before. We took the vehicle to another mechanic and they flushed it again and said it was fine. Now 2 months later we are still having it read at the 2/3 mark when we have driven about 45 min and then park. After parking it will go to the 3/4 mark and back to half in a matter of 2 minutes. While driving, city and highway miles, it stays at the 1/2 mark. It USUALLY only reads a hotter temperature when we have driven for a while and then park it. The engine does not feel hot when I lift up the hood. I don’t know what to do! We are going on vacation in a month and want to be sure it will be ok. Can you help?

    1. T. Childers-

      Have you noticed a loss of water/coolant? Based on your description, it is also possible that you are getting combustion/exhaust gases pumping back into the cooling system. You can use a “Block Dye Tester” to confirm whether or not that is the case.
      BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer would still work if your vehicle is getting combustion/exhaust gases blowing into the cooling system and creating pressure. To give yourself the best overall chance of BlueDevil working successfully, in addition to the directions, you should remove the spark plug from the cylinder with the leak; this will be the spark plug from the cylinder with the low compression reading. If you are not sure which one that is, you may pull all of the spark plugs and will notice one will have a white-crystal-like substance on it and/or may look dirty; this is the plug you should pull. Leave that plug out for the 50 minute idle in order to relieve the pressure from building up and thus allowing the product to seal properly. Be sure to follow the guidelines for the proper amount to use based on the size of your cooling system.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

      1. Thank you for the reply! There has not been loss of water/coolant since we first had it fixed. I will try your suggestions. Thank you so much!

  7. My car does not have any leaks and full on coolant. After driving for about 45min to a hour while on the highway most of the time, the temperature gauge start to show the temperature go up but only 1 bar nothing to bad or to hot but when i put it in neutral and rev my engine just a little it will go down. But 20-40min later it will do it again. I all ready had the water pump replace and radiator cap replace about 5 months ago and it just started happening last couple of weeks.

    1. Evan-

      Based on your description, it is possible that you are dealing with a slight restriction in the cooling system, causing the temp gauge to fluctuate. If you have not done so already, try checking the thermostat to make sure it is opening up at the correct temperature. You can place the thermostat in boiling water to make sure it will open up. If the thermostat seems fine, a cooling system flush would be the next recommendation. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  8. my car is going straight to hot after getting my alternator replaced but there is no smoke coming out but it is making this grinding noise

    1. Treazura-

      Is the vehicle overheating or is the temperature just fluctuating? Was the vehicle losing water/coolant? Please contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 so that we can get a little better understanding of the vehicle’s condition and be able to make any appropriate recommendations.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  9. My vehicle’s entire engine bay (hood and all parts under the hood) becomes very hot to the touch in a short amount of time. The vehicle does NOT overheat, and temperature gauges are all normal. The vehicle did not always feel so hot to the touch after use but has for some time now. I am concerned with parts becoming damaged over time even though most are heat resistant–the amount of constant heat is unusual. I am curious if this is potentially a radiator, thermostat, or water pump issue.

    1. CJ-

      Are the fans kicking on in this short amount of time? Usually, if the thermostat and/or water pump are faulty, you will have an issue with overheating. The fact that you are saying the temp gauge is staying in the normal range lends to reason that both are working properly. Please contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 so that we can get a little better understanding of the vehicle’s condition and be able to make any appropriate recommendations.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

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