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.)
On Apr 4, 2:10 pm, email@example.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.
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.
2000 Civic hatch wrote:
Message posted via CarKB.com
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.
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.
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.
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
I've been driving a Corolla when I'm not in a truck since '03 and IMHO
they are great cars, no problems.
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
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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:
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.
On Fri, 4 Apr 2008 10:56:27 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org 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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