95 Camry Temp Fluctuation


I have a 1995 Camry, 115K miles. The original radiator sprung a leak at the top “seam” and I replaced it with a new one from NAPA.

Ever since, I’ve noticed that my temp gauge will not hold rock steady in the middle. Before the changeout, the temp gauge would stay steady right in the center/middle of the gauge. After the changeout, it goes up to the middle when the car is stationary, but in general when the car is moving, the pointer is a bit lower/ cooler. Not a whole lot though. Comes back up to the middle if I am stationary or going slow.

My questions:

-Is my thermostat “failing”. Is it pure coincidence that its happening just after the radiator changeout.

-Is the new radiator “too clean” and so the car is running cooler than before – the cold air when the car is motion helping the cooling process.

-Or do I have some other problem?

Please help. I dont want to start changing the thermostat if thats not the problem (its the original/stock thermostat).

Thank You.


You should have replaced the thermostat when you installed the new radiator. That would have been the easiest time to do it since the cooling system would have been drained already.

If I were you I’d install a new thermostat, just based on the age of the car. They don’t last forever, and when they go bad the engine either overheats or runs too cold, neither of which is good for the engine.

The radiator is not “too clean.” The radiator does not control the engine temp, the thermostat does.

I think your problem could be an air pocket in the cooling system. Are you sure you got ALL of the air out when you refilled it?


[b]Did you know that one of things you do when replacing a radiator is you also replace the thermostat? It’s called cooling system maintenace.

But from how you describe the problem, it sounds like there’s still air in the cooling system. If the engine doesn’t have a coolant system bleed valve, get the engine up to operating tempersature. Loosen the upper radiator hose clamp, and slip a flat screwdriver between the hose and the neck on the radiator. Allow the coolant and air bleed out and retighten the hose clamp.



Thanks mcparadise and tester.

I think you folks are right, it sounds like an air pocket. I never “bled” the air out cause I thought the camry’s eventually do get the air out on their own once it gets to temp. Its been over 1K miles since I did the radiator change so I guess I am wrong! Will try that first.

Re. thermostat, I am a believer that stock parts are the best and if it aint broke dont fix it, so thats why I did not want to go there. But that will be next if the air bleed thing doesn’t work.

Thanks again folks. Please do post any additional comments you may have.


Take a look at this web page


They say the camry is self bleeding… hmmm OK now I am confused, maybe I wasn’t wrong. Thoughts?