Car Running Hot But Not Overheating: How to Fix

Temperature gauge, the device is used to control and measure the temperature in a car or vehicle. Normally, the gauge shows the average temperature, which means it is not too hot or too cold. This means everything works fine until you see that gauge to be running hot. The gauge running hot indicates that the engine is excessively hot that it can breakdown. However, the problem arises when the gauge shows the increased temperature, but the car is not overheating in actual. The car running hot but not overheating shows the malfunctioning in the temperature gauge.

Today, we would understand what causes the gauge to show false temperature and how you can fix it:

Car Running Hot but Not Overheating: The Reasons

You don’t have to run the car with a false temperature as it misleads you and does not let you know the actual temperature. It is always wise to drive the car with all the things working properly to keep any mishappening at bay. Let’s see the reasons-

Failed Temperature Sensor

The simplest reason for car running hot but not overheating is a failed gauge itself. When the sensor that measures the temperature is faulty or does not work, it is common to notice a wrong reading. This sometimes may get back on the track by cleaning the sensor as dust and debris may come in the way.

Broken Temperature Gauge

The next reason can be a broken gauge as there are parts in a temperature gauge that are prone to get broken. The needle, for example, is prone to breaking when it is stuck, such as in the hot section and breaks. It can also stick in the grease; there are many gears in a gauge that can broke or stuck the needle.

In this case, one should perform a needle replacement by taking your car to a repairer. In severe cases, the sensor entirely may need to get changed, and a professional comes as the ultimate help.

Faulty temperature gauge
Broken needle gets wrong reading about engine’s temperature.(Photo Source: ministrysharing)

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Head Gasket Failure

Sometimes, the car temperature gauge hot but engine cool means having a faulty head gasket. The seal at the coolant, combustion chamber, and engine oil pass is not secure. The head gasket forms a seal between the engine block and cylinder head. If this is the case, you should immediately take your car to a repairer as easing it uncured can have serious troubles.

Faulty Water Pump

The water pump works in the car’s cooling system that keeps the overall structure cool. A faulty water pump affects the overall cooling level of the system, and hence it may generate a warning via the temperature gauge.

Whenever there is a shaft breakage, seal leakage, or casting breakage, it can make the water pump malfunctioning. As a solution, one needs to have these areas shielded again or replace the water pump itself.

The Engine Is Overheating

It is not necessary that every time the gauge malfunctions because sometimes you may misunderstand things. Maybe the engine is really overheating, and you just failed to notice it. Low coolant can be the reason that makes an engine overheat, and thus, it reflects on the temperature gauge.

As a solution, you need to level up the coolant and make sure there is no air in between, and you should stop facing the issue temperature gauge high but car not overheating.

car running hot but not overheating
Failed temperature gauge leads to poor mileage.(Photo Source: caranddriver)

How to Know If the Temperature Gauge Needs Repair

A faulty temperature gauge may encounter several issues other than indicating high temperature. It may also lead you to a poor mileage if not treated timely. Here are some indications that let you know if the temperature gauge needs treatment or replacement:

If you notice the gauge fluctuating rapidly without giving a precise reading, it is a sign.

When the needle does not move even after several minutes or stay in the red zone, it indicates a faulty or broken gauge.  You should learn about factors that contribute to rising the temperature of the gauge. Take your car to the repairer to solve the issue and get some maintenance tips about the gauge.

If the gauge stays at the reading 80 and 100 degrees while driving, it is a sign too.

When you get the car on idle or move it slowly, and the gauge gets to the cold reading from normal, it indicates that there is a problem with the temperature gauge.

If your car mileage suddenly starts to be poor or drop, the faulty temperature gauge can be responsible.

When you check the radiator cap, and if it is not closed securely, then it can make the gauge to show an inaccurate reading.

fix car running hot but not overheating issue.
Faulty temperature gauge drops car mileage.(Photo Source: autowaygarage)


When a temperature gauge goes bad, it is not mandatory that the gauge is faulty. Several factors and elements may make the gauge to malfunction. In case you do not have any experience with handling the technical issue, it is always advised to take your car to a repairer and deal with car running hot but not overheating issue.