I recently bought a used 2005 Camry with 157k miles on it. What I notice is that the thermostat gauge stays in the middle even while the car is running at 70mph. Today I noticed that it takes 3 minutes or around 1 mile for the gauge to come to middle. Is that normal? I was wondering if the engine/thermostate is working properly.
4 minutes seems to be OK during summer but may take much longer like 20-30 during winter to get to the stable operating temperature. If you remember the history how it was heating up when it was new or just bought or simply before and it seems now to you it is too hot or heats up too much or fast suspect the worst i.e. the slow head gasket failure which will gradually increase till it heats to maximum even if the cooling fan later goes on (never do that while it can cause the engine damage). If the head gasket gets worn which separates the cooling liquid chambers inside the block from the cylinders and the combustion gases sealing the block with the head the cooling fluid saturates with hot gases like a soda water with carbon dioxide which in feedback cases the the fluid to be hotter and of lower density which heats the engine more and more. You will see first that the level of coolant changes much more above the cold level on hot engine and may also be black dirty instead of normal pink, blue or green. Gasket also separates the coolant from oil so its damage will cause the water to be present in oil (and vice versa the oil in the coolant) and may cause the engine scratching and severe seizure damage. In any case if you notice some of those symptoms you must stop using the car immediately.
Correct answer by Matt Kalinski on November 28, 2020
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