What is Normal Engine Coolant Temperature?

engine coolant temperature
engine coolant temperature

Normal engine coolant temperature depends on a lot of factors.  Before we get into what normal engine coolant temperatures are, a better question you maybe should ask is what temperature is your engine really running at?

Does your car have a temperature gauge?  Can you really trust it? Many cars being sold today simply have a blue thermometer dash light that turns off once your car is warmed up and a red thermometer dash light that turns on if your car gets too hot.  Even your owner’s manual probably doesn’t tell you what temperature those lights turn on and off at.

One vehicle we test drove did have a temperature gauge closer inspection the gauge stayed centered even though the vehicle’s actual coolant temperature ranged from 140 degrees up to 230 degrees!

So how can you be sure of your engine coolant temperature?

  • If your car was built before 1996, install a mechanical coolant temperature gauge made by a reputable company
  • If your car is older than 1996 it will have an OBDII port.  Get a device to plug into that port to read the coolant temperature.  One of our favorites is made by Foseal and can be linked with an app on your phone like Torque which will allow you to see the value of various sensors in your car’s engine.

Now that you know what your car’s engine coolant temperature actually is, watch it for a few days in a variety of driving situations.  If you have an OBDII scanner, you may even be able to graph coolant temperatures in your app and track them that way.

The best place to start in comparing your vehicle’s normal engine coolant temperature to see if it’s correct is with your thermostat setting.  If you call your local auto parts store, like one of our partners below, they will be able to tell you what temperature your engine’s thermostat is designed to start opening.  This will likely be somewhere in the 160 to 190 degree range based on what your drive.

Another thing to consider when watching your engine coolant temperature is what the engine cooling fans are set to.  If you are driving slowly or stopped idling the fans keep enough air moving through your radiator to keep your engine cool.  Engine cooling fans may engage at one speed or multiple speeds and may kick on anywhere between 180 and 220 degrees. Ensuring your engine cooling fans are working properly is important to keep your car cool but usually doesn’t tell you much about your engine’s normal operating temperature so consider keeping your vehicle driving over 35 MPH when determining what temperature your vehicle operates at.

If it seems like your vehicle is running too warm, make sure your cooling system is working at peak efficiency by performing regular coolant flushes, checking for leaks and making sure your radiator isn’t damaged or clogged with debris.

If you’re sure your cooling system is working correctly, try adding BlueDevil Engine Cool to reduce your engine temperature up to 25 degrees!

You can pick up BlueDevil Engine Cool at one of your local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • CarQuest Auto Parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Canadian Tire
  • Walmart

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engine_coolant_temperature.jpg – By Livijusr – Licensed by Getty Images – Original Link