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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, I have a odd problem. My car won't get fully up to temperature. It's cold here in southern Michigan now, been between 40F and 25F lately. The other day , I noticed that my temperature gauge was not ever getting very high, being a 2012 LTZ with 1.4L turbo, it also has a digital readout , and that was showing roughly 135F. I noticed that when I left the car idling on a day where it was about 40F outside, the temperature actually got up close to 200F, but as soon as I drove the car the temperature dropped back down to 145F or so.

My friend, a GM mechanic say the car should throw a code if it doesn't warm up right... well there is no code. This has been going on for at least a week that I'm aware of now, and still no cod.

I had changed my thermostat back in the spring of this year, and as I recall , something wasn't right when I did that. I vaguely remember actually putting two thermostats on the car and even after the second one was put on, I still had problems. Sorry, but my memory about this past spring is a little fuzzy, but as I recall the reason I put on the second thermostat was because it wasn't getting up to full temperature. This whole spring time issue was related to 'fixing' a overheating issue. That is, at that time, my car was overheating, and clearly needed a new thermostat, codes were thrown, I had gotten the notice of car overheating, etc... I believe the second thermostat was put in place, because the car didn't heat up full after the first one was installed. I think at that time, the issue went away after I had cleared the codes on the car's computer... I figured it was still in a 'limp' mode , and that the original thermostat probably wasn't really bad, that it just needed to have the codes cleared out. Anyway, I had no further issues that I'm aware of all summer long.

Now, it's almost officially winter, and I've got a problem. The car doesn't warm up fully, it doesn't throw any codes. Yes, it actually doesn't warm up, this morning I put my hands on the cooling hoses, it's not hot... I put my hand on the side of the block... warm ( roughly 130F on the gauge at this point) but absolutely not hot ( certainly now 225F or whatever it really should be running at).


Anyone got any idea what could be causing this?

Part of me wants to just buy another thermostat and stick it on there and see what happens, but I have a nagging suspicion that changing the thermostat won't actually fix it either.

I hate to take it to the dealer, because I suspect I'll just be paying them to scratch their heads... but then, that may be my only hope, if no one here can point me to the real cause of my underheating problems
 

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Mine seems to not get to the same temp as it did in the summer but only if the heater is on. If i leave the heater off it goes right to where it always is. But if i turn the heater on it drops a bit. I dont have a digital readout so im not sure the actual temp, i just know that the needle shows that it is less hot.
 

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Are you blasting the crap out of the heater? That will pull heat out of the motor quicker than it can make it.

Leave the heater off until the needle hits 1/4. Turn it on, but don't crank the fan to high. Voila, heat, and unless you're idling a ton, you won't suck it back out and have it blowing cold air as you drive.

Unless you have a LONG drive, or jump on the highway in the 2500-3000 RPM range, it will never heat up fully on a cold winter day. This is normal Cruze behavior.

If you jump on the highway or do a reasonably long city drive with the heater off, and it still doesn't go above 200, then you have a stuck-open thermostat.
 

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That was one of my biggest complaints with the Cruze. It took forever to warm up. I live in TN and it rarely gets into single digits. But it would take my entire 10 mile, 20 minute drive to work to warm the car up enough to be comfortable. I would be miserable right up until I pulled into the parking lot. And that was using J's method of leaving heat off until needle was at 1/4 then only moving it to fan position 2 out of 6 blowing the heat at the floor with recirculate on. When I was living in my apartment I had to park outside and waiting for the ice to melt got so annoying I started using an extension cord and a space heater to de-ice the windows. My Miata, and my Tacoma are both warm by the time I get up to speed on the main road right out of my neighborhood. It has to just be due to the small engine displacement in the Cruze and the perhaps, overly effective, cooling systems for the turbo.
 

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That was one of my biggest complaints with the Cruze. It took forever to warm up. I live in TN and it rarely gets into single digits. But it would take my entire 10 mile, 20 minute drive to work to warm the car up enough to be comfortable. I would be miserable right up until I pulled into the parking lot. And that was using J's method of leaving heat off until needle was at 1/4 then only moving it to fan position 2 out of 6 blowing the heat at the floor with recirculate on. When I was living in my apartment I had to park outside and waiting for the ice to melt got so annoying I started using an extension cord and a space heater to de-ice the windows. My Miata, and my Tacoma are both warm by the time I get up to speed on the main road right out of my neighborhood. It has to just be due to the small engine displacement in the Cruze and the perhaps, overly effective, cooling systems for the turbo.
I suspect the cast iron block has something to do with it too. Fortunately, they fixed it with the Gen 2...aluminum block and water-cooled exhaust manifold - mine is blowing heat by the time I've driven the couple blocks out of the neighborhood, but yes, it was massively annoying to have to drive 15 mins to not freeze to death in your own car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
No, I have a 2013 Cruze as well, same environmental conditions, same use of heater... and it will easily get up to 225F. There's for sure, something not right with this 2012...

As near as i can tell, this 2012 gets up to 120F in the same amount of time as the 2013 does... it just doesn't go much higher after that. I suspect the codes that would indicate a cooling/heating problem are looking for some destination temperature that's only around 120F and once it gets to there, it's not considered a 'problem' ... but as I say, for sure there' something wrong with this 2012 car... I've owned it for about 5 years now and this is the first winter that it's done this.

Yeah, I know in extreme cold they don't ever really defrost the windshield well and such, but this is way beyond normal operating conditions for this car.
 

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No, I have a 2013 Cruze as well, same environmental conditions, same use of heater... and it will easily get up to 225F. There's for sure, something not right with this 2012...

As near as i can tell, this 2012 gets up to 120F in the same amount of time as the 2013 does... it just doesn't go much higher after that. I suspect the codes that would indicate a cooling/heating problem are looking for some destination temperature that's only around 120F and once it gets to there, it's not considered a 'problem' ... but as I say, for sure there' something wrong with this 2012 car... I've owned it for about 5 years now and this is the first winter that it's done this.

Yeah, I know in extreme cold they don't ever really defrost the windshield well and such, but this is way beyond normal operating conditions for this car.
In that case, it sounds like the thermostat is stuck open and the water is constantly being circulated through the rad. Does the top hose feel a bit warmer than the bottom?

Perhaps the temp sensors aren't agreeing with each other. If you have an OBD scan tool, some show readings from both coolant temp sensors (there is an upper and a lower on the Cruze). If those don't agree, I believe it will open the electronically controlled thermostat, and usually blast the fan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
By the way... this car gets even colder the faster you drive it... This morning, most of my drive ( 25 miles total ) , it was at about 135F, even driving 77MPH. Then, I got into some odd traffic and felt a need to go faster, so I mashed the throttle a bit, was going just over 80MPH, the temperature went down to about 120F. This was at the very tail end of my 25 mile commute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have OBD II sensor, in fact I have Torque app and can monitor data real time. As far as I know, if the two temperature sensors don't agree with one another, then it should throw a whole different code ( I forget what that code is for ).

At this point, it seems the only real logical thing is to replace the thermostat. Yet, if I were a skeptical man, and I often am, I might still be thinking it's not really the thermostat... It's likely going to cost me $50 to find out. ( think that's about what a thermostat costs )
 

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By the way... this car gets even colder the faster you drive it... This morning, most of my drive ( 25 miles total ) , it was at about 135F, even driving 77MPH. Then, I got into some odd traffic and felt a need to go faster, so I mashed the throttle a bit, was going just over 80MPH, the temperature went down to about 120F. This was at the very tail end of my 25 mile commute.
ok, something is wrong. Check the temps like jblackburn said. That sounds like it may be your problem.

I have a 1 hour commute and found out that if I take back-roads at 55mph in sub-0 temps the car will never get fully up to temp even if I turn the heater down to the 1st or 2nd blower setting. Itll vary depending on if I'm going up or down a hill, but never settle.
However if I go the freeway, it'll still take a while to get up there but I can run full blast on the heater and it'll stay at full temp at 70mph or above. If I go 75 or 80 it'll get up to temp faster.

Good luck! let us know what it is when you find the problem.
 

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I used to pull the fans off my RWD cars. And block off the radiator.

When it's really cold. The heater alone is all that's needed. PLUS, the cold air movement under the hood from under neath.

This year I"ll probably block the radiator but winter so far has been mildly warm compared to last year.

Semis will put a button or zipper blanket in front of their hood. When it's cold they can completely block off the radiator. As it warms up. They unbutton a few buttons or bring the zipper partially down to slightly open up the blanket.
 

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Well, $50 AC Delco Thermostat, 60 minutes of labor, and I got heat again.

Wow 220F heater core sure puts out alot more heat than a 135F one does.
One generally won't feel much heat till it hits 150 degrees. I don't feel much of anything untill that point. My Hyundai was the same way.

One good thing about the gen 1's. They've got the best heaters in the world with their 220 thermostats. the gen 2's are back to standard 190 thermostats.
 

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I have experienced the slow heating as well in cold winter months in Iowa. I could drive for 15 minutes, half a highway speeds on not get to normal working temperature. Interestingly enough after servicing for an oil change and tire rotation... additionally they topped off the coolant in the reservoir and the problem went away. Left me thinking the engine is extremely sensitive to coolant level. I did not notice the coolant reservoir being noticeably low.
 
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