Temperature gauge not working?

I have a 98 Honda Civic DX I just replaced the fan switch, thermostat, and connecting pipe. My temp gauge is going crazy it shoots ip to hot but my car doesn't seem to be leaking or overheating any suggestions?

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
You would need to check the temperature sender unit to see if it got coolant in the connector or wire got shorted somehow. Disconnect the sensor and see if the gauge acts differently. If it does then replace the sensor and recheck the system. If you need help having this looked at, a certified pro from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to inspect the electrical circuit related to your temperature gauge and can guide you with the correct repair.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

The most common cause of faulty temperature readings is a broken coolant temperature sensor (CTS). The part, which is normally located near a vehicle`s thermostat near the base of the radiator (consult your owner`s manual or repair guide) can get gunked up and fail.
The instrument cluster fuse, also known as the dashboard fuse, powers the gauges and displays on your vehicle`s dashboard. This includes the speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, and temperature gauge. If this fuse is damaged or blown, it can cause these gauges to stop working or malfunction.
To do so, remove the cables connected to the sensor. Then turn the ignition key without starting the motor. Connect the red line of the multimeter to terminal two and ground it with the black one. A value of up to 5 volts indicates that there is no problem on this end.
The Thermocouple As A Temperature Sensor. The Thermocouple is by far the most commonly used type of all the temperature sensor types. Thermocouples are popular due to its simplicity, ease of use and their speed of response to changes in temperature, due mainly to their small size.
The temperature gauge utilizes a sensor, located near or in the thermostat housing, to send an electrical signal through the vehicle`s internal computer corresponding to the specific coolant temperature, giving the gauge on your dashboard an accurate reading of the temperature.
On electric dryers, the thermal fuse is often located on the blower housing or near the heating element.
Temperature sensors work by providing readings via electrical signals. Sensors are composed of two metals that generate an electrical voltage or resistance when a temperature change occurs by measuring the voltage across the diode terminals. When the voltage increases, the temperature also increases.
The ECT sensor may also control the temperature gauge on your dash, though in some vehicles, that is done instead by the engine coolant sending unit, otherwise known as a temperature switch.
The coolant temperature sensor usually has two wires, one for the signal and one for the ground.
An oral reading may be affected if you`ve sipped a cold drink or kept your mouth open while taking your temperature. An armpit reading may be lower if you did not hold the thermometer in the correct place or if you improperly closed your arm. Take your temperature a few times to make sure the reading is correct.
The most common and most likely cause for the engine to not get to operating temperature is commonly cause by the thermostat stuck in the open position or is broken.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Gas gauge isn’t working. Sometimes the speedometer and the temperature gauge doesn’t work. Limited lights around gauges and radio.
ANSWER : Hi there. The dashboard lights are burned out in the dash and the dimmer switch could be worn causing the lights to be weak. The gauges that seldom fail to work is most likely a loose wire in the dash panel. The fuel gauge that is not going to E when shutting off the car has a damaged rheostat within the sending unit. The sending unit is in the fuel tank attached to the fuel pump. If you need further assistance with your gauges not working, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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Temperature gauge does not work – 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis
ANSWER : You will need to test the computer to scan for data of the temperature sensor to see if the computer is reading the correct temperature as tested externally on the coolant sensor. If the sensor is not accurate then replace the sender. If the sender is accurate then you will need to have the temperature gauge replaced.

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Will the gaslight still come on if the gauges are not working on my car
ANSWER : The low fuel light is incorporated into the gas gauge cluster and I will only speculate that if the gauge is not working then most likely the low fuel light will not come on. The light usually comes on when you have less than 3 gallons left for use in the tank. Unless you are going to carry around a full gas can of fuel in the trunk in case you run out then I would not suggest you drive it below a half tank of fuel just to make sure you have enough fuel at all times.

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My speedometer, rpm gauge and fuel gauge are not working; possible gear slipping and high rpm.
ANSWER : Hi there. For the electrical issues on the dash that are not working properly, I recommend that you have your battery check and loaded. The battery could have 12.6 volts, but if a cell is burnt or damaged, the battery will not hold a load causing issues with the electrical system to your vehicle. If the battery is low on charge and or fails the load test, then I recommend replacing the battery with a new one if it is more than a year old. Batteries in a vehicle usually last about 2 to 3 years without having any issues. If you need further assistance with your gauges not working properly, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

For the jerking feeling when shifting, check the transmission fluid and see if it’s full and red in color. If the fluids are low, top them off and check the condition of the shifting issue. Another possibility that can cause the transmission to jerk into gear is the transmission or engine mount could be loose or damaged. If the transmission is still having an issue with shifting, then I recommend seeking out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you with your transmission jerking in gear.

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Fans not working properly and temperature gauge rising – 2004 Toyota Camry
ANSWER : Hello – there are still a couple of possible sources of this overheating. A weak water pump, or clogged (internally or externally) radiator may not be transferring enough heat out of the engine. Air pockets in the radiator where the fan switch mounts would cause the fan not to kick off as expected. It’s also possible with your mileage that you have a blown head gasket, which essentially "super-heats" the coolant, and the cooling system is just not capable of dispersing that much heat. I would recommend an inspection of the cooling system by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, diagnose this problem, give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.

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My instrument cluster is not working properly! Help!
ANSWER : Check that all fuses are good. You can try removing the electrical connector on the back of the instrument cluster and plugging it back in. Odds are, the amplifier inside the gauge cluster has failed of has poor connection. It would have to be disassembled and repaired or replaced. If you want this taken care of, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose your electrical issue and assist you with appropriate repairs.

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Windshield wipers stopped working. They’ll suddenly stop working then suddenly start working again. Has been happening for a week.
ANSWER : The problem you are describing likely stems from an intermittent electrical fault in the wiper circuit. The windshield wiper system uses a small electric motor to move the wiper arms that you see on the windshield. That electric motor is controlled through a switch, relay, fuse, and wiring. One, or more, of those electrical components has failed although it is also possible that the mechanical arms are binding (seized, if the lubricant has dried out) thus causing the electric circuit to the motor to overload. Regardless of the underlying fault, if you request a non functioning wiper diagnostic/repair, the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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Temperature gauge stuck left
ANSWER : Hey there, thanks for writing in about your 1987 Chevy. When you bridged the temperature sensor wire to the engine block, this effectively "shorted" the circuit. It is probable that this damaged the temperature sensor or the gauge itself. If you need an expert to take a look, a professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, can inspect the AC system and guide with the proper repairs.

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