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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys...

The dash engine temp gauge never quite reaches the middle, no matter how long the car is driven. The heat does get fairly not, but this still doesn't mean the engine is at full operating temp. Anyone else have this problem? It sounds like a typical thermostat issue, although I'd be surprised since the car has done this since new. Maybe a gauge sensitivity issue? Hopefully not a thermostat issue, because then it means the engine hasn't quite been getting up to operating temp ever since the car was new, which is not good for engine wear!

Thanks!
 

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Mine sits just below the middle line. I never considered it a problem.
 

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That is the normal operating temp you're seeing on the gauge. The only true way to find out what the engine temp is running at would be with one of those infared tools, where you can point it and see what the surface temp is. Most of the GM's cars and truck will show the temp at or just below the middle mark on the temp gauge. You are getting good heat, right? Then there's not an issue, the engine is up to operating temp.
 

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Mine never reaches the middle either. Don't worry about it.
 

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Hey guys...

The dash engine temp gauge never quite reaches the middle, no matter how long the car is driven. The heat does get fairly not, but this still doesn't mean the engine is at full operating temp. Anyone else have this problem? It sounds like a typical thermostat issue, although I'd be surprised since the car has done this since new. Maybe a gauge sensitivity issue? Hopefully not a thermostat issue, because then it means the engine hasn't quite been getting up to operating temp ever since the car was new, which is not good for engine wear!

Thanks!
Why would you think the needle has to reach the middle position on the gauge when the engine is warmed up?

Bill
 

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The only car that had the needle going past middle was a 05 Malibu :) Those are known for that. All others I ever owned had the needle planted right below the middle point :)
 

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My Malibu also runs right below the middle line.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys! Glad to hear it seems normal.

I thought that it had to reach the middle because I'm assuming the gauge is not truly mechanical. My SAAB sits literally right at the middle. The computer controls the position of the gauge such that as long as the temperature is within a specified temperature range, the gauge will sit exactly at the middle. As a result, any deviation from this position suggests that something is amiss, since it means the temp is out of the "normal" range.

Anyway, thanks again guys!
 

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Same here. Mine is just a little above the mark that is below the middle. Never bothered about it.
 

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Thanks guys! Glad to hear it seems normal.

I thought that it had to reach the middle because I'm assuming the gauge is not truly mechanical. My SAAB sits literally right at the middle. The computer controls the position of the gauge such that as long as the temperature is within a specified temperature range, the gauge will sit exactly at the middle. As a result, any deviation from this position suggests that something is amiss, since it means the temp is out of the "normal" range.

Anyway, thanks again guys!

Sorry but the only time to worry about the engine temp is if the needle on the gauge goes into the red section that's higher up on the gauge. On most cars htere is a normal range that is wide, and as long as it doesn't go up into the red zone you shouldn't worry.
 

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Another note: you said no matter how much I drive it, the needle stays below the center line.

That's true because when you drive the car there is more cooling which offsets the heat generated by a running engine.

The hottest temps generally are when a car is idling in hot weather with no cooling air hitting the radiator.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks guys, sounds good.

Like I said, I only questioned it since my SAAB's gauge works differently. The computer places the needle literally exactly on center as long as the temperature is within a pretty wide "normal" range....so if the needle is even a weee bit off center, it really means that the temp is quite a bit out of range, and something is probably wrong. This doesn't seem to be the case on the Malibu (and perhaps most cars are like this?) On the SAAB, when the gauge was even just a wee bit off, I wasn't even getting full heat.

Anyway, all seems well in Malibuland!
 
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