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On my 2002 Saturn SC2, my temperature gauge will sometimes work and sometimes not. By not working, I mean it will stay on the cold reading. If I started my drive without it working it will continue to not work, it I started my drive with it working it will continue to work.

I took the car to the shop. My coolant fan works fine, pressure test reads normal (no leaks), car does not overheat. He did say my sensor is bad and I replaced that as well as the thermostat because why not. Temp sensor working fine, thermostat working fine, gauge working only sometimes. Mechanic said I have a couple options. Either something wrong with wiring which he said is labor intensive, or I can replace instrument cluster which is expensive. He did say I have a third option which would be to buy an aftermarket temp gauge.

My question is, with the temp gauge working sometimes, would a aftermarket temp gauge work? I realize none of you are actually looking at my car, I'm simply asking a possibility question. Could installing an aftermarket temp gauge potentially solve this problem given how it works sometimes which seemingly to me suggest a wire?

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An aftermarket gauge does mean a wire for sure, it's just that running a new wire is a lot easier than trying to find the break in an existing wire, especially when it is bunched up with a load of other wires. It's a lot of work, and then it may not actually be a wire, the problem could be in the instrument cluster instead, which would need to be repaired by a specialist.

With an aftermarket gauge you can route the wire however you like and stick the gauge on the dash somewhere, it's usually a quick job. It's not the most attractive option, but unless you are worried about resale value it's the lowest cost way to get your sensor back.

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