No matter which car you drive, when you look at the dashboard, you will often notice a meter. The meter will have a “C” at the bottom and an “H” at the top, with a needle that fluctuates between the two. Depending on the condition of your car when you start the vehicle, the needle might be somewhere between the two.
What Is The C And H Meter In My Car?
The C/H meter refers to how hot or cold your car is when you are driving. The idea is to have the needle stop or fluctuate around the center of this meter, which means the vehicle is running at optimal temperatures. You want to make sure that your vehicle does not deviate too long in one section, which could mean there are other issues at play.
The C on the meter stands for cold and you will often find your vehicle hovering around the C mark when you just start the car or it has not been driven for a while. In the winter, you might find that your vehicle remains in the C position. However, you might want to start and turn off the ignition a bit to heat the glow plug.
As you drive the vehicle, you should notice that it shoots up to the H and past the halfway point. However, your vehicle would eventually settle and it should be running more consistently when the needle is in the middle. Having the needle in the middle should be the ultimate goal of any car owner.
At the top of the meter, you will find another letter, which is often an H. The vehicle should rarely stay in the H for too long as this means your vehicle engine is running at higher temperatures than it should. The needle will inevitably drop back down after a while as the cooling systems of your vehicle kick in to neutralize the heat.
However, if the needle continuously stays in the H, you could be dealing with an overheating engine. The engine might overheat due to various factors. However, problems with the cooling system or your vehicle or a lack of lubrication can be one of the main driving sources. It is important to fix this and prevent any other components from being damaged.
Is Your Car Supposed To be On H or C?
Since the hot or cold on the gauge refers to the oil inside the sump, you would want to make sure the car is at the optimal temperature range. Should it be too hot or too cold, it might not activate the oil or even cause it to boil. Depending on your car, the ideal operating temperature could vary. However, having it around 90-100 degrees Celsius is optimal for most cars.
Since cars operate at different temperatures depending on various factors, the hot and cold gauge is not similar in all vehicles. Yes, it might look similar, but the actual temperatures that affect whether the needle moves in one direction would vary. Each manufacturer would have their temperature calibrations that are put into place.
Since some modern vehicles also have sealed radiators nowadays, it is hard for the driver to affect the hot or cold temperature that much. This means that you find many vehicles having electronic indicators on the dashboard, which might even display the direct temperature. The ECU and onboard software would affect the performance.
How To Fix Excessive Heating Or Cooling?
No matter which car you drive, you are bound to come across a situation where the needle keeps pulling to one side or the other. Since many vehicles indicate this and often have a light that will come on for excessive heating or cooling, you can try some of the following tricks. These should allow you to recalibrate the needle back to the center:
Car Is On C – What Should I Do?
You will notice that your vehicle might be stuck in cold mode when you haven’t driven the vehicle for a while. It might take some time for the vehicle to heat up and you should notice the meter slowly shifting as you drive the car. You could also turn the ignition on and off to light up the glow plug and improve the heat in the vehicle.
Car Is On H – What Should I Do?
A more severe issue could be the car overheating or the needle being stuck in hot mode. If this happens, you will need to try to reduce the temperatures and get the car back in the operating window. Some modern vehicles might even cut out if the car overheats to prevent a fire from starting. Here are a few things you could do to reduce overheating:
- Turn The AC Off: While this could sound counterproductive, you want to turn off the AC to reduce stress on the engine. The radiator needs to heat up for the AC to work and this could spike the temperatures in the engine.
- Check For Coolant: Your vehicle will rely on coolant to keep certain components from overheating. You should check for coolant to see if you have any possible leaks or if you have a lack of coolant. This could solve all the issues.
- Turn The Engine Off And On: While this might sound like a reset, you can stop your vehicle and turn the engine off for a while. On a hot summer day, this would help cool down the engine. You could restart the engine and check if the same thing happens.
- Stop And Park The Vehicle: If the same problems keep happening, you should rather turn the engine off and stop the car. This would not only allow the engine to cool, but you can plan a visit to your mechanic and diagnose any other faults.
Chances are much higher that your vehicle would overheat instead of remaining too cold. Yes, severe cold weather could affect the car, but your engine would eventually reach the optimal heat. It is best to visit your mechanic if you have a persistent overheating issue.