low coolant temperature - joe
My question concerns my 1996 Seat Toledo GTI 16v (the one with the golf gti engine)

The temperature gauge never gets much above the minimum band. The computer shows the oil temperature (when warmed up) as around 88 degrees ( I think, this may be wrong).

I have never had a car before that did not show the temperature as at the middle or upper reaches of the temperature gauge once warmed up.

Now this may be a faulty gauge, or it may be that my car runs cool. If it is the latter, is it anything to worry about?
low coolant temparature - king arthur
This may sound weird but modern temperature gauges are actually designed to give a non-linear reading. Note that the gauge is not usually calibrated, there is only "cold", "normal" and "hot". The gauge is wired to stay in the same place at the lower end of "normal" if the temperature is within a certain range. Only if the temperature goes above or below this range does the needle start to move. This is because car manufacturers feel that most car owners will be more reassured by a temperature gauge that stays in one place.

If you set your heater to "hot" and hot air comes out of it, your engine is at normal working temperature.
low coolant temparature - joe
Thanks KA.
low coolant temparature - Cyd
The oil temp is correct for normal running.

I'd check the thermostat - if it's stuck open (even a little) it could allow the coolant to run too cool. Do you have a thermometer you can use to check the temp of the coolant - either an electric one you can stick the probe into the coolant or stick a trad one in the header tank just after shutting down after a run. An oven thermomometer even.
low coolant temparature - joe
How hot should it be?
low coolant temparature - Cyd
around 82 to 88 depending on the thermostat. Measure after a good run on a warm day.
low coolant temparature - Jonathan {p}
What sort of problem is going to be caused by an engine running "too cool"?

The reason for asking is that my wife's 1.0 polo hardly ever gets to temp. It usually stays below the centre and i don't get hot air (mildly warm air at best) from the heater fans.

Surely its better for an engine to run cool rather than hot?

low coolant temparature - joe
It is just that I thought that engine components (and oil) are designed to work at specific temperatures, and so might be damaged by running too cool. Everybody says that most damage to an engine is caused when it is started and is running cold.
low coolant temparature - RichardW
Sounds like the thermostat is shot if the engine is not getting properly warm. This (on a petrol engine) leads to the mixture staying rich, which can wash the oil off the bores and cause premature bore / piston wear which wears the engine out. Get a new stat fitted and the coolant changed (and then you won't have cold feet in the winter.

Poor heater performance could also indicate that the coolant level is too low, and this is defintiely bad for an engine!

low coolant temparature - Jonathan {p}

The engine does get up to temp, but not very often, it usually hovers around the 1/4 mark. It does get up to temp when on stop start traffic.

As for premature wear, I'm not sure. The car is 14 years old has now covered 100k and still runs sweet (only problem was an idle control problem, which has now disappeared). If then engine's not worn by now, then it'll probably live forever.

Coolant is a brownly colour, but isn't low. Its a carb, which has an auto choke. It doesnt take much temp to warm it up and its not taking rich mixture after 5 mins driving.

low coolant temparature - Cyd
If your coolant is brown in colour then it sounds like it's not been changed for a long time and it could be that the inside of the engine is suffering from the effects of corrosion. Corrosion cuts the heat transfer from hot surfaces (such as around the exhaust valves) and also can block (or partially block) waterways. Both problems lead eventually to overheating and possibly a wrecked engine. We've had examples of this pop up in the BR on cars much newer than yours.
low coolant temparature - NormanB

At 100K and 14 years old the thermostat must be suspect - I hope the coolant is not 14 years old!

I would drop the coolant, give system a good reverse flush, change thermostat and restore cooling system with correct anti-freeze (it is also corossion inhibitor), taking care to vent as required. You may also wish to invest in a new pressure cap for the expansion tank.

As long as you DIY the cost is small.

Good Luck
low coolant temparature - Ian (Cape Town)
Agreed. You can also get some off-the-shelf radiator flushing stuff, which shifts a lot of gunk from the rad. Drain, refill, add flusher, drive a few miles, drain again, then refill with a antifreeze/water mix.
The only drawback is often the flusher cleans the gunk off the inside so well that it makes the radiator leak!


Value my car