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Old 03-04-2011, 08:39 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Why No Temp Gauge, Not What You Think




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While cars are coming with increasingly complex instrument panels, you might notice one feature is missing from your new car: the coolant temperature gauge.

Over the past several years, we've noticed the trend across a wide range of vehicles. Such is the case, too, with the latest versions of the Mazda3 introduced last year, and with the new 2012 Mazda5 we drove this past week.

And it actually has nothing to do with cost-cutting, or with lean instrument-panel design (although we do like the new hooded gauge clusters in Mazda's latest vehicles, with their large round dials).

According to Robert Davis, Mazda's senior vice president for quality, research and development, there's a cool blue 'cold' light instead of a temperature gauge because of consumer psychology: In short, owners are more likely to drive gently—and “not thrash the engine”—if there's a light on than if the temp gauge simply shows cold.

There's a lot of misinformation in question-and-answer sites about revving an engine when cold. For the truth here, look at nearly any vehicle owner's manual; most advise against revving an engine too high when cold, for good reason. The alloy parts of an engine don't fit together in quite the same way until fully warm, and the oil pump has to work especially hard to get oil into the smallest spaces when the oil is thicker.

And with the thinner oils being introduced this year and over the next several model years—allowing better fuel economy and good high-heat protection—they counterintuitively place engines under higher stress in cold starts.

For 2011, Mazda is transitioning to zero-weight (0W20) synthetic motor oil in all of its four-cylinder engines, which enables an extended service interval of 10,000 miles in light-duty use (easy highway driving) or 7,500 miles in normal use (more stop-and-go, shorter trips).

Some might be disappointed to see these gauges go away, as slight variations in coolant temperature are often your first sign that thermostats are sluggish or radiator passages are becoming clogged or corroded.

But based on several follow-up questions with other automakers' engineers, temperature gauges aren't going away completely; we'll continue to see them in performance vehicles, as well as in vehicles that are often modified in the aftermarket.
http://www.thecarconnection.com/mart...-no-temp-gauge
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:47 AM   #2
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Some might be disappointed to see these gauges go away, as slight variations in coolant temperature are often your first sign that thermostats are sluggish or radiator passages are becoming clogged or corroded.
Yes, this. The whole goddamn point of gauges is to notify you of a problem!!!!
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:54 AM   #3
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meh. most cars now wouldn't slow a slight variation in temperature anyway, the gauges have a tendency not to move until the engine gets as hot as the surface of the sun. rather have an oil temp than water (or both!)
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:02 AM   #4
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Legacy/Outback and lower-end Foresters lost it too.


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Old 03-04-2011, 09:14 AM   #5
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Seriously, who needs a running MPG gauge? Most people will have not clue how to use it as it will show things they don't want to see unless they coast

Give me back my temp gauge. I suppose you can always install an aftermarket one.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:04 AM   #6
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The great thing about gauges is that savvy owners will immediately recognize initial abnormal conditions rather than the idiot light to turning on at more extreme conditions where you may not be in a position to safely pull over or find yourself in no man's land.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
Seriously, who needs a running MPG gauge? Most people will have not clue how to use it as it will show things they don't want to see unless they coast

Give me back my temp gauge. I suppose you can always install an aftermarket one.
Go green!!!!!!
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:34 AM   #8
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personally, I'd be happy with a 2 color light.

blue means it is under normal operating temp, red means it is over.

I don't need a gauge that most of the time is in the exact same position, and if it isn't I'm only concerned with if it is high or low.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:38 AM   #9
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Go green!!!!!!
yes, but not with running MPG. An overall MPG gauge would be more apropriate as it doesn't fluctuate with every move of your right foot.
Running MPG is as usefull as a temp sensor on the brake discs would be.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
yes, but not with running MPG. An overall MPG gauge would be more apropriate as it doesn't fluctuate with every move of your right foot.
Running MPG is as usefull as a temp sensor on the brake discs would be.
something in between would be better.

mpg over the last 50 miles.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
Seriously, who needs a running MPG gauge? Most people will have not clue how to use it as it will show things they don't want to see unless they coast

Give me back my temp gauge. I suppose you can always install an aftermarket one.
You realize that factory temp gauges are useless. They only have 3 settings, cold, regular, overheating. The needle doesn't show the small fluctuations.

If they want an effective gauge, it should be a digital display like a ScanGauge.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:25 AM   #12
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something in between would be better.

mpg over the last 50 miles.
I actually would like what prius has to be build upon. At the shut off it tells you teh MPG from the time you turned on the ignition so basically your trip MPG.

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You realize that factory temp gauges are useless. They only have 3 settings, cold, regular, overheating. The needle doesn't show the small fluctuations.

If they want an effective gauge, it should be a digital display like a ScanGauge.
I don't know about your gauge but I can see mine rising gradually from the very bottom to the middle "normal" position as the car warms up, so effectively you can see the temps rising. Haven't had a chance to overheat the engine yet, but I'm pretty sure it would rise slowly up rather than just point at the "red" in a split second.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:31 AM   #13
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yes, but not with running MPG. An overall MPG gauge would be more apropriate as it doesn't fluctuate with every move of your right foot.
Running MPG is as usefull as a temp sensor on the brake discs would be.
They really dont need that MPG gauge at all its worthless. Besides, on my wifes 2010 Legacy not only does it have that gauge but theres a digital readout by the clock that can give you current mpg/ave mpg/or miles left on the gas remaining. The only indication of temp is a blue dummy light when its cold after startup. BTW you would be suprised at the idiots that do use the running mpg gauge. People are dumb and coast or let out the gas and think theyget better mpg than a prius. I constantly get pic messages of my buddys new sti bragging that hes currently getting 32mpg.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
yes, but not with running MPG. An overall MPG gauge would be more apropriate as it doesn't fluctuate with every move of your right foot.
Running MPG is as usefull as a temp sensor on the brake discs would be.
My guess is their intention is to show you explicitly in real time how much an impact your driving style is having on the ice caps. "OMG, I just killed a polar bear overtaking that Camry! I better ease up a bit..."
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:48 AM   #15
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personally, I'd be happy with a 2 color light.

blue means it is under normal operating temp, red means it is over.

I don't need a gauge that most of the time is in the exact same position, and if it isn't I'm only concerned with if it is high or low.
That's how the new Subaru lights work.

From cars101 pertaining to the Forester.

"Engine temperature warning light is blue when the cold engine is first started and comes back on red when the engine is overheating, app ~235°F it Blinks red, at app 248°F is steadily on red. On all models except Touring models which have a real engine temperature gauge"
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:03 PM   #16
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something in between would be better.

mpg over the last 50 miles.
You can sort of make it work this way if you want it to. The avg MPG display in the center console is tied to the two trip odometers, as is the MPG gauge. Reset a trip odometer when you want to start measuring mileage. The MPG gauge reads in the center when your current mileage is equal to the average mileage for the currently displayed trip odometer. Sounds complicated in prose but works pretty intuitively in practice.

We rented a 2010 Outback to drive to Montana last year for a ski trip, I actually used the MPG gauge quite a bit, as well as the Avg MPG display and trip odometers. You gotta do something to stay awake through North Dakota.

As to the temp gauge thing, as others have said most gauges are just fancy idiot lights any way. I'd personally prefer a responsive gauge but if they're not going to give me that, I prefer an idiot light which can flash and draw my attention to a gauge which gives a false sense of security.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
I actually would like what prius has to be build upon. At the shut off it tells you teh MPG from the time you turned on the ignition so basically your trip MPG.
i didn't know the prius did that. i like that. my car has the avg in the info display, but you'd have to remember to reset it manually. I don't use mine that much but on the times i do, a 'per trip' indicator would be useful.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:38 PM   #18
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Go green!!!!!!
My 1990 BMW had a fuel economy gauge, I liked it.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by samagon View Post
personally, I'd be happy with a 2 color light.

blue means it is under normal operating temp, red means it is over.

I don't need a gauge that most of the time is in the exact same position, and if it isn't I'm only concerned with if it is high or low.
id be happy with an audible alarm in conjunction with whatever they pick.
Ive run a car with the coolant temp all the way to melting and didnt notice till it was too late. The idiot lights just turn on when its too late, if at all.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:00 PM   #20
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You realize that factory temp gauges are useless. They only have 3 settings, cold, regular, overheating. The needle doesn't show the small fluctuations.

If they want an effective gauge, it should be a digital display like a ScanGauge.
that has to do with the thermostat keeping itself closed till the car gets to operating temperature. Then it opens enough to keep the temperature around that range.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:46 PM   #21
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that has to do with the thermostat keeping itself closed till the car gets to operating temperature. Then it opens enough to keep the temperature around that range.
It has more to do with the design of temperature gauges having a normal "dead band" such that driver's don't freak out when the gauge indicates normal fluctuations in temperature.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:51 PM   #22
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And with the thinner oils being introduced this year and over the next several model years—allowing better fuel economy and good high-heat protection—they counterintuitively place engines under higher stress in cold starts.
Uhhh...fail.
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Old 03-04-2011, 02:01 PM   #23
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Yes, this. The whole goddamn point of gauges is to notify you of a problem!!!!
And on that note, why do gauge clusters still have a "check engine" light? That light is triggered by any number of things from the gas cap being screwed on improperly to cylinder misfires. The car's computers clearly have the ability to distinguish between these problems and knowing what's causing that light to come on could save the customer a trip to the dealership. That would save both the customer and the service department time.
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Old 03-04-2011, 02:16 PM   #24
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It has more to do with the design of temperature gauges having a normal "dead band" such that driver's don't freak out when the gauge indicates normal fluctuations in temperature.
Yup. Even with a good thermostat the coolant temp is going to fluctuate depending on engine load, ambient temperature and air speed across the radiator. Modern temp gauges go to the dead middle position all of the time. I bet if you pulled your coolant temp sensor out of the cold engine and dipped it in a pot of boiling water the needle would move up at the same rate as it does every morning.. very slowly.

If you've ever seen one of these damped gauges on an overheating car.. they jump from normal (middle) to hot very quickly.


None of this is as bad as the NB miata's faux oil pressure gauge. It basically tells you that the ignition is in the 'on' position and nothing else.

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Originally Posted by NTP WRX View Post
And on that note, why do gauge clusters still have a "check engine" light? That light is triggered by any number of things from the gas cap being screwed on improperly to cylinder misfires. The car's computers clearly have the ability to distinguish between these problems and knowing what's causing that light to come on could save the customer a trip to the dealership. That would save both the customer and the service department time.
Because it's an OBDII mandate... and OEMs don't want clueless customers dropping off their cars saying, "replace my #4 piston, it's misfiring."

OBDII scanners are cheap.
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Old 03-04-2011, 02:17 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by NTP WRX View Post
And on that note, why do gauge clusters still have a "check engine" light? That light is triggered by any number of things from the gas cap being screwed on improperly to cylinder misfires. The car's computers clearly have the ability to distinguish between these problems and knowing what's causing that light to come on could save the customer a trip to the dealership. That would save both the customer and the service department time.
this, most cars have some form of digital display, words can be displayed on here, just have a scrolling message that says:

um, dillhole, you didn't screw yore gascap on tite enuf, lol @ ur mom!

or something to that effect.
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