my temp gauge always stays on cold. never moves.?

97 cavalier: 3 days ago car needed water so i put water in it & noticed my temp gauge stays on cold. cant be my thermostat because I don't have one in it. took it out long time ago & never put it back in. this is the only problem I have. also my temp light stays on, but if i hit a bump it will stay off for a tiny bit then goes back on

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  • 8 years ago
    Best Answer

    Either your gauge is broken or your water temperature sensor is broken. Even with your thermostat removed, you should see some movement on the thermostat. I would start by testing the water temperature sensor. Get a multimeter and a Hayne's manual. Follow the steps for measuring resistance and make sure it is within spec. If it isn't, replace it. This should be fairly easy to do and diagnose. To diagnose the gauge you would most likely have to take the gauge cluster out and apply voltage to it.

    I would also hook an OBII reader up to the car. Even if you aren't seeing a CEL, it's possible that the light could have burned out so that even if one is triggered, you wouldn't know. This is probably the simplest and easiest diagnostic step that you can take and is always my first step on a car that's 10+ years old.

    With your thermostat removed, your car will not reach it's optimal operating temperature though. This could lead to premature engine damage, so I would replace that soon. Typically, you would only want to do that if you are racing your car. Even then, most racer's replace the thermostat with a racing one that opens earlier so that they can still regulate water temperature somewhat.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    If you have water in the vehicle, turn on the heater and see if you have heat. If you have water and you're not getting heat, then the temp. isn't getting hot enough to raise the temp gauge. Note that a hot hose doesn't necessarily mean that the temp. gauge should move. Cars operate at 190 - 230 degrees. So if you have water but no heat, you might need a thermostat (that's their job, to keep the water temp at a certain point). It will also be a lot harder for your car to heat up if you don't have a thermostat buy you do have a mechanical fan that is always going instead of an electric fan that only comes on when it gets hot.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    1) Your car should have a thermostat. I don't know who told you to remove it, but any of their reasons for removing the thermostat are WRONG. Without a thermostat, the engine will not be able to maintain the proper operating and will run cold.

    2) You're not supposed to have just water in the radiator. You are supposed to have a 50/50 dilution of coolant/water or 60/40 during the winter time if you want. Coolant raises the boiling temperature and ALSO lowers the freezing point of the water, thereby allowing your car to run properly both in the heat of the summer or freezing cold of the winter.

  • 4 years ago

    My temp hand stays on cold with a brand new thermostat

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