Yaris, Scion xD, Honda Fit - no water temp gauge

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I've been thinking about what my next commute car is going to be. 80 miles/day, it's just me and my briefcase, so thinking of a small vehicle with great gas mileage. Yaris hatchback, Scion xD, or Honda
Fit would work for me. Problem is, none of them has a water temp gauge, just an "idiot light."
Would you consider buying a car (brand new) that only has the water temp "idiot light", but no water temp _gauge_ ?
Btw, do these "idiot lights" come on early enough to prevent major engine damage, or only after the engine has overheated to the point where the head gasket is blown?
Also, the next bigger models that do have the water temp gauge would be Toyota Corolla, Matrix, or Honda Civic. But the extra purchase/ ownership cost may not even offset the possible repair costs resulting from a Yaris/Fit/xD engine overheating (which, if happens, would be several years down the road.)
TIA, Bubba
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If you maintain the vehicle well you should not have any cooling system problems. If a guage is that important to you you can always install an aftermarket gauge later.
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How is such an aftermarket temp gauge installed - under the hood, and how is it mounted on the dashboard/instrument panel? How much does it cost?
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On Apr 4, 2:10 pm, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

My 5 speed 2000 Civic has/had/offered no tach not even as an option (thank goodness it DOES have a temp gauge) - it would have been such a pain to install an after market (tach) I learned to do without.
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FYI on your civic if you buy a used cluster (I got mine from Ebay) with a tach, it is a direct swap and the tach works without any further modification.
Kinda neat, frustrating at the same time.
And if you want to keep your original mileage on the odometer, just swap out the center gauge cluster. I bought a US cluster for my canadian car, so I didn't want to have to worry about converting from miles to kms.
It took me 10 minutes to do the swap.
t
2000 Civic hatch wrote:

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loewent via CarKB.com wrote:

i've done that a couple of times on my hondas.

you can swap the speedo instrument within the cluster too. that way you keep your original mileage. within model classes, they're interchangeable.

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An idiot light might not come on soon enough to prevent engine damage. On some vehicles if you loose coolant pressure because of a leak the boiling temperature will be too low to cause the idiot light to come on. It is getting harder to find vehicles with gauges. Most cars I have owned had temperature, voltage, and oil pressure gauges. My Fusion has only a temperature gauge.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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wrote:

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wrote:

An "idiot" light uses a sensor that is just a switch that flips once the design temp is exceeded. But a true temperature gauge uses a sensor that MEASURES the temp,and the gauge gives warning BEFORE the temp goes "over the top". A gauge gives you more info,and sooner. A stuck thermostat may cause your engine tempo to cycle from 'cold' to 'hot'(affecting mileage) but an idiot light will not show that unless 'hot' exceeds the sensor limit.But a gauge will show that variation,and will show an engine running hotter than usual but within tolerance,showing something has changed[a problem!],that an idiot light will ignore. (until it's too late...)
Every car should have a temp gauge,not an idiot light.
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Mike wrote:

If there is no pressure e.g. because of a loose cap the coolant can slowly boil away without the idiot light coming on. The same is true if you use only water with no antifreeze. The boiling point of water at sea level pressure is 212 degF. With 50% antifreeze and a high pressure radiator cap the boiling point will be about 270 degF. An idiot light might not come on until 240 degF. You are correct about the light not coming on if the coolant is low. I have seen engines that became so hot that the the head gasket blows and the driver swears that the idiot light never came on.
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Mike Walsh

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yes, I would.

It's usually an "operator malfunction" for some folks not acting quick enough in response to a caution or warning light that is damaging. I've heard it said many times "I saw the light but I didn't know what it meant". I say to myself, hey, it's only money, why should you care.
If they didn't know what the light meant, I would doubt a gauge would be any more meaningful to them. Sometimes to learn what a light means, they see the results of driving with the low oil pressure light on in a sixty thousand dollar car because the person (woman) did not act, they just kept driving, until it stopped. Very instructional. Hubby was not happy. Like I say, it's only money.
You sound like an aware type of person, so a light instead of a gauge would be fine for you, but you could add an after market gauge if you wanted.

I've been driving a Corolla when I'm not in a truck since '03 and IMHO they are great cars, no problems.

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None of them have oil pressure gauges either, or what a few years ago would have been considered normal instrumentation. You MAY be able to ask the dealer for a "gauge package" but the number of cars available with real gauges is slim.

I wouldn't. But what is even WORSE are the fake gauges which you see on an increasing number of cars. They look like real gauges, but they only register three different levels. Apparently having gauges that move around too much is "confusing" for the driver.

That depends. The basic idea is that they're supposed to come on well before the point of damage. But there's really only one way to find out.

You can always install aftermarket gauges. And not that although I wouldn't buy a car without gauges, I'm also a luddite who wouldn't buy most any car made today. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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*snip*
I'll trade you the temp gauge for your tachometer! 2000 Echoes didn't have them.
Natalie
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In article
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Sure.
But if it really bothers you, it's easy to get devices that plug into the OBD-II port and give you more information about your car than you ever want to know. For example:
http://www.scangauge.com /
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"Elmo P. Shagnasty"...

I agree with Elmo on this. Tomes
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why should you have to BUY what should be standard,that gives important information?
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Define "should". ALL cars are built on compromise. This particular compromise is very small, and shouldn't make someone not want the car.
That they made a decision not to include it, is immaterial. If you want the car, the $160 for a Scangauge may be easy enough to swallow to give you the car AND the feature that you want in it.
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On Fri, 4 Apr 2008 10:56:27 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yes. On many of the cars that have gauges now the gauge is nothing more than an idiot light with a needle. The gauge is either cold, normal or hot. Same with oil pressure... It's either 0 or normal. I was told manufacturers started doing this because people would bring a car back in for warranty repair when the gauge reading was still "normal" but not exactly like it always was.

They aren't as good as a gauge, but really who has cooling system problems anymore? The last time I had a car overheat it was because a hose blew out and in that case neither the gauge nor the idiot light detected it in time to avoid damage. Since neither was in water anymore they didn't detect the rising temp until waayyy to late.

I wouldn't upgrade just for that feature. Replace all the hoses every five years and don't worry about it.
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People still do that? Hoses outlast engines these days. I have had it happen twice already.
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zzyzzx wrote:

two engines??? doubtless their demise was assisted by your close attention to the highly accurate and meaningful temperature gauge.
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