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Ask Ronnie Your Own Question
Ronnie, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 33029
Experience:  34 year as an ASE Tech
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Water temp light came on and the temp gauge started rising

Customer Question

Water temp light came on and the temp gauge started rising but didn't redline. I checked the top off reservoir and was low on coolant. I topped it off but the light stayed on and the temp would creep up, go back down, creep up higher and not go down. After maybe an hour in the car it kept doing this but didn't redline. Checked coolant level again and it is fine. I'm assuming that because the coolant level is fine that the thermostat is starting to go bad, yeah?
JA: Does the engine turn over? How old is the battery?
Customer: The engine does turn over. Not sure how old the battery is, it's my dad's car. He passed away and I'm borrowing it from my mom, who doesn't drive, while my jeep is sidelined waiting on repairs. It's a 2000 wagon, I think s series. It sat in his driveway for almost a year before I started using it the last couple of months.
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: If it's something simple like the thermostat then yes.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Saturn Mechanic should know about your Saturn?
Customer: I recently had an accident where I rear ended someone at low mileage- just a couple of dents in the front bumper- air bags never deployed, car never shut-off. That was a month ago. The water temp light just came on Saturday while driving home to Chicago from Indiana.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Saturn Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Saturn
Expert:  Ronnie replied 4 months ago.

Hello and thank you for your question,

If you are sure the cooling system is now full then yes, I would agree with you that you likely have a sticking and or a slow to respond thermostat especially if the car has set for a long time. I would start with changing the thermostat and while you have it drained replace the coolant with new new. Post back with the engine size if you need the replacement steps and I can send them as well.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I think I got it- it's in the lower hose (passenger side) where the hose attaches to the block, in the metal hose flange, right?There's a drain flow plug behind the passenger side tire for the block, and then there's the petcock plug on the radiator, right? And I just pour new coolant into the overflow reservoir right? I assume there's a radiator cap under the cowling, but I've never worked on a Saturn so I am not sure.
Expert:  Ronnie replied 4 months ago.

You do not need to drain the block, draining the radiator will be enough to change the thermostat. And yes once you have replaced it refill the system with some fresh coolant and you should be okay, The thermostat should be in the lower hose but if you can gime your engine size I will double check it for you to be sure.