Car Temperature Gauge in the Red Zone: What’s Happening?

car temperature gauge

A car’s temperature gauge measures how cold or hot the engine is. Did the needle in the gauge all of a sudden move to the red? We probably don’t have to tell you your car is overheating. Why is the car’s temperature gauge in the red zone and what should you do?

Why the Car Temperature Gauge Is in the Red Zone

A healthy car should have a running temperature between 195 and 220 degrees. The needle will also sway back and forth in the middle of the gauge. On hotter days, the needle may yield a higher reading than usual. This is normal and no cause for alarm.

However, if the needle sways into the red zone, then the engine is overheating. The temperature warning light may also light up. Overheating is usually a symptom of an issue with the cooling system. The radiator may be faulty or coolant levels may be low. With some BMW models, the 3 and 5 series in particular, this may also indicate an electronic water pump failure.

Some car owners have also experienced the opposite problem where the needle is pointing unusually close to the cold side. This may indicate a problem with the thermostat.

What Should You Do?

If the needle is in the red zone, do not continue to drive. Pull over and turn off the engine. Even driving for a short distance can cause damage to the engine cylinder block. Pull over when safe to do so and call a tow truck to haul your vehicle to a German auto service.

Bring Your Car to Our German Auto Repair Shop

Schedule an appointment with Northwest Imports or bring your car to our shop pronto if the engine is heating up. When the car’s temperature gauge is in the red zone, you’re experiencing a dangerously high heat buildup.

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