I went for a ride in the country and on the way home my temp gage spiked past the hot for about 2 miles then went back to normal for 2 miles and did this at least 6 times. What would cause this to happen? Is it the thermostat or radiator or a sensor??? I’m at a loss with this one.
You do understand that the only correct thing to do is to stop when you see the temperature gauge approaching “H”, not drive for two miles. You can do severe engine damage by not stopping.
Your thermostat could be sticking, you could air bubbles trapped in the cooling system (probably due to a leak somewhere), or it could be something else. Keep driving this way, and you will need a new head gasket at the least.
This could be a bad sensor or it could be the result of various problems with the engine’s cooling system. Driving the car “past hot for about 2 miles” is…not recommended, and could already have led to problems such as a warped cylinder head, scored cylinder walls, bearing damage, etc.
After the engine has cooled down, I would suggest that you check the level of coolant and the level of motor oil, and correct their levels if necessary.
Then, I strongly suggest that you get the car to a qualified nearby mechanic a.s.a.p., rather than continuing to drive it. If you are particularly lucky, it will turn out to be merely a bad heat sensor. Even if it turns out to be a problem with the cooling system, I hope that no engine damage is found, but you can improve your odds in this respect by taking the car to a mechanic immediately.
Incidentally, for future reference, when the temperature gauge spikes up to the “hot” area, you should steer the car to the shoulder as soon as it is safe, turn off the engine, open the hood, and sit for at least 30 minutes before investigating things under the hood. Only if you can confirm that no overheating took place should you continue to drive the car.
I hope that you turn out to be lucky!
Overheating is bad for an engine. Overheating it six times is especially bad. Let’s hope you haven’t done much extra damage here.