Is something wrong with my temperature gauge?

Thursday April 23 2020


By Paul Kaganzi

Hello Paul, lately, my Nissan Trail emits a lot of heat from the engine bay area and can be felt by a bystander yet the temperature gauge is normal. What could be the cause? Charles

Hello Charles, when your Nissan Xtrail’s engine bay emits unusually high temperature, there are two possible explanations.

The first is that the engine may be running hot but not overheating or it may be overheating but the temperature sensor or temperature gauge is faulty. There are a couple of factors that cause an engine to run hot yet it is not overheating.

A clogged or damaged radiator or radiator cap. This will prevent the efficient cooling and delivery of engine coolant which will maintain high engine temperatures.

Low level or aged engine coolant can cause an engine to run at higher than normal temperature. Coolant has an additive that gives it a higher boiling point.

This helps it to be a heat dissipater (take away heat) as opposed to water which boils at a lower temperature and therefore makes an engine run at higher temperature.


Coolant should be topped up when the level drops or renewed every two years as it ages to avoid overheating. Poor performance of the engine fan usually due to a faulty switch gear or temperature sensor.

This causes the engine fans to delay switching on or run at lower speeds for shorter intervals. This will cause higher than normal temperatures.

A damaged water pump or thermostat will cause an engine to run a higher temperatures or overheat. These two components help to deliver coolant fluid around the engine for cooling.

As they begin to fail, the car’s engine temperature will tend to be higher than usual. When these two components fail completely, the engine will overheat or get damaged.

It is important to have the engine checked by an experienced mechanic to rule out any of the above.