The temperature gauge in my 1996 Mazda 626 has been dead for as long as I have had the car (years). I never bothered to fix it because the car seemed fine. I recently had an issue where I discovered a crack in my radiator when steam started billowing from the hood. An accurate temperature gauge would have been helpful in that situation.

I recently replaced the radiator myself. Now I'm interested in addressing the temperature gauge. Considering the temperature gauge has been broken long before I had a problem, I assume that the gauge is faulty and not the cooling system thermostat (though I haven't tested the thermostat).

What's involved in testing/fixing the gauge?

  • What kind of engine does your 626 have? I'm seeing at least five different engines, with one diesel and one v6 amongst all of them. Jul 31, 2014 at 21:28
  • Yeah it's confusing. I think it's a 2L 4cyl (not diesel).
    – Andrew
    Jul 31, 2014 at 22:03
  • Automatic or stick? DX/LX/ES? Aug 1, 2014 at 0:28

2 Answers 2


In a '96? Try swapping out the temperature sending unit (on the engine, probably on the intake manifold. If that doesn't fix the problem... and if it were mine, I'd buy an aftermarket gauge and find a place to mount it. That's much easier than fixing the temperature gauge in an instrument cluster.

  • agreed - it depends on whether the fault is with the sender, the gauge, or the wiring between them...
    – Nick C
    Jul 31, 2014 at 10:37
  • 1
    Went to the auto-parts store and bought a new temperature sender for about $20. I'll try it out and see if that fixes the problem.
    – Andrew
    Jul 31, 2014 at 22:07

Have a quick scan from your auto parts store to check out the sender. If your temperature sensor is not working the chances are your engine management system will be using a substituted arbitary figure and you will be using too much fuel.

  • Went to the auto-parts store and they said they only had a generic tester that couldn't tell me if the temperature sender was broken. It was only $20, so I decided to buy a new one and test it out.
    – Andrew
    Jul 31, 2014 at 22:06

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