Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Engine not getting warm

Hi,I have a 1996 Toyota Camry LE car. This week I noticed that the temperature needle is not going beyond the 1/4th of the scale, even after an hour of driving. I can feel that it is not getting warm .
<br/> Most of the time it is below 1/4th of the scale. It used to be in the 1/2 range.
<br/> Can any one tell me what is wrong with it and about how much money I need to fix it?
<br/> Is it a serious problem?
<br/> Thanks
<br/> Jay


  • edited December 2008
    The problem might be with a stuck thermostat. If the thermostat is partially or fully stuck open, the coolant never gets a chance to get hot enough to reach the proper temperature. This results in very little or no heat from the heating system.

    Try having the thermostat replaced to see if gets the coolant temp at the proper level.

  • edited December 2008

    I agree that the most likely cause is the cooling system's thermostat. This is one of the cheapest engine repairs that exists, so you won't need to take out a second mortgage in order to pay for it. The exact cost will depend on how difficult it is to access the thermostat, but rest assured that the cost will not be high.

    In addition to the problem of inadequate heat from the car's HVAC system, running a car with a thermostat that is stuck in the open position results in a fairly significant drop in gas mileage and it also "wears out" your motor oil faster and increases wear on the engine. I would suggest having this job done sooner, rather than later.

  • edited December 2008
    First see if you have a full cooling system. If not, do a pressure test and fix the leak.

    If you don't find the fluid low, change the thermostat. If you can work a ratchet wrench it'll cost you about $20 for a repair manual (for the instructions) and less than $20 for the T-stat and gasket. And probably another $15 for new coolant.
This discussion has been closed.