Temp Gauge Stuck


Asked by Jan 03, 2014 at 11:42 AM about the 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I've had temp gauge issues for the past two days (which coincides with -34C weather). Yesterday when I started my car after work, the temp gauge was already at the halfway mark. On the drive home, it increased to the red zone. After shutting the car off, the gauge did not reset back to 0. This morning, the gauge was still high.  I am thinking it's a stuck gauge due to the freezing cold temperature here, but it's still concerning to me. Any other ideas?

8 Answers

Travis Yager

to me, the broken gauge may be a symptom of an even BIGGER issue, though luckily, a cheap one to fix. make sure your 'stat is working properly, and that coolant IS pumping into your engine. the readout gauge may have got overloaded, the thermocouple may have melted, or the needle is just stuck.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Travis Yager

but i stress, make sure your engine's 'stat is working properly before worrying about the thermocouple (the latter being what determines the readout on your dashboard)

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Easiest way to determine if coolant is circulating properly? The cars heat seems to be functioning normally (blowing cold at start, then gradually getting warmer). I'm a noob with no garage, no tools, and little know-how. Sadly.


Update: left work today. Gauge at full heat. Needle was off the gauge. Cycled the key to accessory a couple of times, and each time the needle moved further. It is now interfering with my speedometer needle. I've been reading these cars are known to have faulty stepper motors in the gauge cluster.

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Very good possibility about the instrument cluster being bad. But before you condemn the cluster unplug the temperature gauge sending unit. Does the gauge now read cold? If so, sending unit is bad. If not, gauge on dash is bad. HTH -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have 2902 cavalier in great condition and I've had the same problem the past couple of days! My temp gauge shoots into the red as soon as I start driving and only goes down to halfway if I shut the car off. Plus my vents blast out freezing cold air even if I drive it for 10+ minutes. My roommate seems to think it's the radiator, but I'm not sure if it's just simply too cold out for a poor little cavalier lol

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2002 Cavalier*

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have had the same issue on my '05 Cavalier...I've been driving around with a temp gauge that went past the red, fell down onto my speedometer needle, and now sits at about -20 degrees all the time. Been like that for about a year now. Lately, I'm having the same kind of trouble with the speedometer. I'll come to a full stop at a red light, and it says I'm still going 20 mph, then if I'm driving at 40 mph, it reads 60 mph. Sometimes when I start driving, it ignore the first couple blocks and stays at 0 mph, so later when I'm driving 35 mph, it only reads 15 mph. thank goodness my GPS unit tells speed.

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