Yaris, Scion xD, Honda Fit - no water temp gauge

Discussion in 'Fit' started by bubbabubbs, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. bubbabubbs

    bubbabubbs Guest

    I've been thinking about what my next commute car is going to be. 80
    miles/day, it's just me and my briefcase, so thinking of a small
    vehicle with great gas mileage. Yaris hatchback, Scion xD, or Honda
    Fit would work for me. Problem is, none of them has a water temp
    gauge, just an "idiot light."

    Would you consider buying a car (brand new) that only has the water
    temp "idiot light", but no water temp _gauge_ ?

    Btw, do these "idiot lights" come on early enough to prevent major
    engine damage, or only after the engine has overheated to the point
    where the head gasket is blown?

    Also, the next bigger models that do have the water temp gauge would
    be Toyota Corolla, Matrix, or Honda Civic. But the extra purchase/
    ownership cost may not even offset the possible repair costs resulting
    from a Yaris/Fit/xD engine overheating (which, if happens, would be
    several years down the road.)

    bubbabubbs, Apr 4, 2008
    1. Advertisements

  2. bubbabubbs

    Mike Guest

    If you maintain the vehicle well you should not have any cooling system
    problems. If a guage is that important to you you can always install an
    aftermarket gauge later.
    Mike, Apr 4, 2008
    1. Advertisements

  3. bubbabubbs

    Mike Walsh Guest

    An idiot light might not come on soon enough to prevent engine damage. On some vehicles if you loose coolant pressure because of a leak the boiling temperature will be too low to cause the idiot light to come on. It is getting harder to find vehicles with gauges. Most cars I have owned had temperature, voltage, and oil pressure gauges. My Fusion has only a temperature gauge.
    Mike Walsh, Apr 4, 2008
  4. Yes, I would.
    It's usually an "operator malfunction" for some folks not acting quick
    enough in response to a caution or warning light that is damaging. I've
    heard it said many times "I saw the light but I didn't know what it
    meant". I say to myself, hey, it's only money, why should you care.

    If they didn't know what the light meant, I would doubt a gauge would be
    any more meaningful to them. Sometimes to learn what a light means, they
    see the results of driving with the low oil pressure light on in a sixty
    thousand dollar car because the person (woman) did not act, they just
    kept driving, until it stopped. Very instructional. Hubby was not happy.
    Like I say, it's only money.

    You sound like an aware type of person, so a light instead of a gauge
    would be fine for you, but you could add an after market gauge if you
    I've been driving a Corolla when I'm not in a truck since '03 and IMHO
    they are great cars, no problems.
    [email protected], Apr 4, 2008
  5. bubbabubbs

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    None of them have oil pressure gauges either, or what a few years ago
    would have been considered normal instrumentation. You MAY be able to
    ask the dealer for a "gauge package" but the number of cars available
    with real gauges is slim.
    I wouldn't. But what is even WORSE are the fake gauges which you see on
    an increasing number of cars. They look like real gauges, but they only
    register three different levels. Apparently having gauges that move around
    too much is "confusing" for the driver.
    That depends. The basic idea is that they're supposed to come on well
    before the point of damage. But there's really only one way to find out.
    You can always install aftermarket gauges. And not that although I wouldn't
    buy a car without gauges, I'm also a luddite who wouldn't buy most any car
    made today.
    Scott Dorsey, Apr 4, 2008
  6. bubbabubbs

    Wickeddoll® Guest


    I'll trade you the temp gauge for your tachometer! 2000 Echoes didn't have

    Wickeddoll®, Apr 4, 2008
  7. bubbabubbs

    Mike Guest

    I don't believe that is true. The coolant does not have to boil for the
    light to come on. The temp sensor only senses the temperature of the water, it
    has no way to determine if it is boiling or not. What may happen with a sudden
    leak is the coolant level will drop low enough that the temp sensor is no
    longer immersed in coolant. Being the sensor is no longer in contact with the
    coolant it will not turn the light on until it is too late.

    I know. I prefer gauges myself but the are getting harder to find.
    Mike, Apr 4, 2008
  8. bubbabubbs

    bubbabubbs Guest

    How is such an aftermarket temp gauge installed - under the hood, and
    how is it mounted on the dashboard/instrument panel? How much does it
    bubbabubbs, Apr 4, 2008
  9. My 5 speed 2000 Civic has/had/offered no tach not even as an option
    (thank goodness it DOES have a temp gauge) - it would have been such a
    pain to install an after market (tach) I learned to do without.
    2000 Civic hatch, Apr 4, 2008
  10. bubbabubbs

    Jim Yanik Guest

    An "idiot" light uses a sensor that is just a switch that flips once the
    design temp is exceeded. But a true temperature gauge uses a sensor that
    MEASURES the temp,and the gauge gives warning BEFORE the temp goes "over
    the top". A gauge gives you more info,and sooner. A stuck thermostat may
    cause your engine tempo to cycle from 'cold' to 'hot'(affecting mileage)
    but an idiot light will not show that unless 'hot' exceeds the sensor
    limit.But a gauge will show that variation,and will show an engine running
    hotter than usual but within tolerance,showing something has changed[a
    problem!],that an idiot light will ignore.
    (until it's too late...)

    Every car should have a temp gauge,not an idiot light.
    Jim Yanik, Apr 4, 2008
  11. Sure.

    But if it really bothers you, it's easy to get devices that plug into
    the OBD-II port and give you more information about your car than you
    ever want to know. For example:

    Elmo P. Shagnasty, Apr 5, 2008
  12. bubbabubbs

    Tomes Guest

    "Elmo P. Shagnasty"...
    I agree with Elmo on this.
    Tomes, Apr 5, 2008
  13. bubbabubbs

    Steve B. Guest

    Yes. On many of the cars that have gauges now the gauge is nothing
    more than an idiot light with a needle. The gauge is either cold,
    normal or hot. Same with oil pressure... It's either 0 or normal. I
    was told manufacturers started doing this because people would bring a
    car back in for warranty repair when the gauge reading was still
    "normal" but not exactly like it always was.

    They aren't as good as a gauge, but really who has cooling system
    problems anymore? The last time I had a car overheat it was because a
    hose blew out and in that case neither the gauge nor the idiot light
    detected it in time to avoid damage. Since neither was in water
    anymore they didn't detect the rising temp until waayyy to late.

    I wouldn't upgrade just for that feature. Replace all the hoses every
    five years and don't worry about it.
    Steve B., Apr 5, 2008
  14. bubbabubbs

    Jim Yanik Guest

    why should you have to BUY what should be standard,that gives important
    Jim Yanik, Apr 5, 2008
  15. bubbabubbs

    Mike Walsh Guest

    If there is no pressure e.g. because of a loose cap the coolant can slowly boil away without the idiot light coming on. The same is true if you use only water with no antifreeze. The boiling point of water at sea level pressure is 212 degF. With 50% antifreeze and a high pressure radiator cap the boiling point will be about 270 degF. An idiot light might not come on until 240 degF.
    You are correct about the light not coming on if the coolant is low. I have seen engines that became so hot that the the head gasket blows and the driver swears that the idiot light never came on.
    Mike Walsh, Apr 5, 2008
  16. why should you have to BUY what should be standard,that gives important

    Define "should". ALL cars are built on compromise. This particular
    compromise is very small, and shouldn't make someone not want the car.

    That they made a decision not to include it, is immaterial. If you want
    the car, the $160 for a Scangauge may be easy enough to swallow to give
    you the car AND the feature that you want in it.
    Elmo P. Shagnasty, Apr 5, 2008
  17. bubbabubbs

    jim beam Guest

    depends if you stop when it first comes on or not.

    truth is, water gauges are an historic anachronism. if you look at the
    typical car's temp gauge, they don't have a linear response, it's a step
    function. that means that when it's in the "normal" zone, there can be
    considerable temperature variation and you'll never see any difference
    in indicator position.

    given that it's not really any interest when the coolant is cold, and
    there is no visible variability under normal operating conditions, that
    only leaves the "too hot" zone to be of any real interest - and there's
    no reason it can't be served by an indicator light. in fact, it may be
    a good deal more useful than a honda where if you don't happen to look
    down at the gauge to catch a problem in time, you can easily cook an
    engine. most people notice right away when a light comes on.
    jim beam, Apr 6, 2008

  18. Yes, I would. I've had many vehicles with real gauges and a few of
    them overheated and I never noticed the gauge go up because it
    happened so fast (blown hose). I might have noticed an idiot light.
    I'd like to have both in an ideal setup. It's nice to know what's
    happening with water temp on a long uphill, esp if you are towing
    something. My 99 Mustang GT has a temp, oil and volt gauge but all
    are just idiot gauges. At least on the mustang you can put the
    Dashboard odometer into "diagnostic mode" and it will give a true
    digital readout of water temp. I think most idiot lights for water
    temp are set to go on at about 235 degrees. If everything is good in
    the cooling system it should not boil till it hits 260 degrees.
    Ashton Crusher, Apr 7, 2008
  19. bubbabubbs

    Nate Nagel Guest

    I agree, I think the ideal setup would be gauges with an idiot light
    right inside the gauge. Unfortunately if you want something like that
    you have to do it yourself.

    Nate Nagel, Apr 7, 2008
  20. bubbabubbs

    Jim Yanik Guest

    OTOH,my 94 Integra GS-R had a stuck thermostat,and I noticed the temp gauge
    rising when I stopped and falling to 'Cold' when I was driving. I got the
    parts and fixed it before anything worse happened.
    And the last car I had with only an idiot light blew a rad hose (during a
    Buffalo blizzard) and left me stranded out in the middle of
    nowhere(Millersport Rd),except that a generous person stopped and gave me
    and my bud a ride ALL the why home,quite out of their way. The idiot light
    was useless to me.

    Conclusion;idiot lights are for idiots.
    Jim Yanik, Apr 7, 2008
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.