A Detail Well Done - 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Silverado: A Detail Well Done

August 13, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Silverado

Here's a good example of some detail work that I've noted on other long-termers in the past. See how the needle on the temperature gauge is sitting dead center? That's no accident.

At the time this picture was taken, the coolant in our Silverado was up to its full operating temperature of 210 degrees. Now that mark could have been anywhere on the gauge — a quarter of the way up, a third of the way up — but the engineers made sure to put 210 degrees right in the middle.

Why does this matter? Because if 210 degrees just happened to be a third of the way up the dial, you might not notice that the needle was starting to creep up to 215 or 220 degrees. As long as it was to the left of center it wouldn't be very noticeable. But when the "normal" reading is dead center, it's obvious when something is wrong.

Over the course of my recent road trip, I encountered temperatures between 46 and 112 degrees in the same day. On the cold side, the engine sat exactly at 210. And when I was trudging up a long uphill grade in the desert heat, I noticed that it only nudged up a few degrees past dead center. A pretty good showing I'd say.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 1,204 miles


  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Note also that like most gauges, this isn't very useful- since every tick is a 12.5 deg increment, it's not likely you're going to notice you're having a problem until you hit the 3/4 mark, where you're hitting 235 degrees (most OEM truck engines seem to be designed for max coolant temp targets of 245 deg F or so). If you do manage to end up in the red zone (and it's not hard to not notice), you're REALLY in trouble.

  • the 3/4 mark is actually quite a bit of movement. Especially if you do like Ed and actually look at the gauge regularly. Movement of even half a tick should be easily noticed and can be watched more closely when in situations that need it.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    +1 for making sure operating temperature is the center of the gauge. +1 again for giving the gauge actual numbers. Too many coolant temp gauges hang to the cool side of center and have no real values associated with them. For instance, in my Focus the

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Actual numbers are always worth praising, but I can't recall the last time I drove a car with a factory coolant temperature gauge where normal operating temperature, whether indicated by an N or an actual numeral, didn't fall in the middle of the gauge.

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    My 2005 Trailblazer has the same setup. Good idea, but not new.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    as they say +1 to that detail

  • mfennell mfennell Posts:

    Numbers or not, that's an idiot gauge. like greenpony described. Hook an OBDII scanner up and report back the REAL temps. You'll find that it shows "210" for a really wide range. You become so used to it that when you get in a car that reports actual temps, it's a little unnerving at first. They appear to "warm up slow" or "run hot".

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Most manufacturers have doctored the response of temperature gauges to the degree that they are just security blankets. I doubt GM are any better. Customers get twitchy when the gauge moved with the normal variations in driving and weather so to calm them down the makers slugged the life out of them.

  • flapsmcgee flapsmcgee Posts:

    mfennel and agentorange are correct. The only car I've ever driven that had a real temperature gauge was my 94 Firebird Formula. If I was driving down the highway, the temperature would stay at about 180-185°. However, right when I stopped, the temperature would immediately start to increase until it hit about 210-215°, then the fans would turn on. Then they would turn off again when it got down to about 190-195°. The temperature would actually stay more constant when the A/C was on because it always ran at least 1 of the 2 fans. This was all a little unnerving to watch at first, but it was cool knowing exactly what the car was doing. All cars do this, but they have dummy gauges that just tell you if they are working normally or not.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    It's not impressive because that's basically a 3-position indicator with left being cold, right being hot, and middle being OK. The gauge may not be moving, but the temps are fluctuating. I had a GM car where the actual real temps could be accessed via a digital readout, and the constant fluctuation, especially in traffic, would be unnerving to many consumers.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    So if weather variations are unnerving to people, does that mean the weatherman should report 70 degrees and partly cloudy every day, regardless of actual weather? * Note: Those in SoCal may not understand the phrase "weather variations".

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I'm not saying they *should* make 3-position idiot gauges because small variations unnerve the average consumer, that's just the reason *why* they use 3-position idiot gauges.

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