Normal Engine Coolant Temperatures

by Tom LutzenbergerUpdated August 06, 2023

Too Cold

Engine coolant has to remain warm enough to stay fluid so it can be pumped through an engine. Water alone won't work; it will freeze too quickly. Coolant with a 50/50 mix of water and ethylene alcohol (anti-freeze) can function at temperatuares as cold as negative 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Too Hot

The acceptable range for an engine to run at sits between 195 degrees and 220 degrees Fahrenheit. This assumes a person is running a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. At 225 degrees, the mixture will boil but still function up to 265 degrees Fahrenheit if the system is kept closed (that is, you don't remove the radiator cap).

Consequences of Exceeding Ranges

When the car engine gets too hot, the gasoline flowing inside will start to detonate prematurely. This can cause pinging and disturbances in the engine combustion cycle. It can also cause damage to the engine pistons by excessive heat. And it can result in a blown engine head gasket. If temperatures are too cold, the car won't start.

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