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Whether a factory gauge or aftermarket upgrade, the water temperature gauge is a vital piece of the cooling system.



What is a Water Temperature Gauge?

Most cars and trucks have a basic, analog water temperature gauge fitted to their OEM gauge clusters. This gauge is designed to tell you when your engine is overheating or running too cool.

Many automotive and 4WD enthusiasts choose to install aftermarket gauges. Aftermarket gauges can be easier to read and more accurate than factory, OEM-style gauges.

How does a Water Temperature Gauge Work?

Some gauges are mechanical, some are digital. Mechanical gauges work just like a thermometer. As the temperature increases, the dial on the gauge moves to indicate the temperature of the engine’s coolant. Digital gauges work in much the same way, but they use a sensor to take the engine’s temperature, which is then relayed to the gauge mounted in the interior of the vehicle.

How are Water Temperature Gauges Made?

Analog water temperature gauges are little more than conventional thermometers designed for automotive use. Analog gauges often require the installer to plumb a coolant-filled line into the vehicle’s interior. Digital gauges include a sending unit that takes the coolant’s temperature and sends the information to the gauge.

Why do Water Temperature Gauges Fail?

  • Your vehicle’s factory gauge is unlikely to fail; however, it may be inaccurate or difficult to read.
  • Enthusiasts often choose aftermarket water temperature gauges because these gauges are more accurate and easier to read than factory gauges.

What are the Symptoms of Water Temperature Gauge Failure?

  • Factory gauges may indicate the car or truck is overheating after only 30 seconds to 1 minute of runtime. Check your coolant before assuming the gauge is inaccurate.
  • Factory gauges may indicate the car or truck is running too cool even though the heater blows hot air.
  • You may want to add a water temperature gauge to your car or truck if you do not trust the factory gauge to indicate a problem.

What are the Implications of Water Temperature Gauge Failure?

  • You may not know when your engine is overheating, which can result in catastrophic engine damage.
  • You may not know when your engine is running too cool, which may make it impossible to heat the car and could also have a negative effect on your vehicle’s fuel economy.

If you have questions or concerns about water pump gaskets or any If you have questions or concerns about water temperature gauges or any of your vehicle’s cooling components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.