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Clever Coolant Temp Gauge, But What About Oil? - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited February 2016 in Mazda
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Clever Coolant Temp Gauge, But What About Oil? - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.com's long-term 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has a clever coolant temperature gauge, but nothing for oil temperature or pressure.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • miata52miata52 Posts: 114
    The NC has a fake oil pressure gauge...it shows what the oil pressure would be at the current throttle position. It's stupid, and I'm glad they got rid of it.
  • miata52 said:

    The NC has a fake oil pressure gauge...it shows what the oil pressure would be at the current throttle position. It's stupid, and I'm glad they got rid of it.

    Yeah, agreed. My NB is 16 years old now and I don't think the oil pressure gauge has ever provided ANY useful information in the history of the car. The coolant temperature sounds like a neat idea, though.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    edited February 2016
    I cannot properly express how much I despise those stupid lights that light up when the coolant is cold. 35 years of driving tells me that illuminated warning lights mean bad things. The first time I experienced this on a rental I thought there was something wrong (low coolant perhaps) and had to pull the manual to see what it meant.

    I'm not a [non-permissible content removed] moron. I know that the coolant is cold when I first start the car. What possible benefit is there to this particular system?
  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    If the thermostat's stuck open the light will stay on so that you know the engine is not properly warming up.

    It performs the function of a modern idiot gauge while being cheaper to manufacture.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't think it's all that smart. For one thing, bankerdaddy makes a good point. Why on earth do you need to know that your coolant is cold? If you had a proper temperature gauge, with a wide sweep of readings, you would know, that when thee needle rests on 0, or whatever the minimal temperature is, that the coolant is cold, and that when the needle starts to lift, then it's probably time to get a little frisky. Same with the high end of the range. This new gauge only gives me a range of some...what....8 mm to see the needle moving towards 210. I should be able to scan the entire gauge from 0 to 210. Old race car drivers (and some new ones) all orient their gauges so that the optimum readings on all the gauges orient to 12 o'clock. That way a very quick glance showing all needles pointed to 12 oclock tell you everything is OK.

    I think an oil pressure alarm would be more useful than an oil temp gauge on a Miata.
  • I have a skyactiv engine and the manual urges 'gentle' driving until the blue cold light goes out. Seems to use more gas as well during that time, so perhaps thats a subtle way of improving mileage. The icon could use improving though, I've had mechanics think it was a low coolant warning.
  • djd352djd352 Posts: 31
    I also heard that coolant temp gauges are bogus anyway. Apparently people want them, so the manufactures still put them in (or at least emulates them), but they program them such that they don't move once the vehicle is warmed up unless there is a major temp problem. i.e. whenever the temp is within 20 degrees of normal, it shows as 210 (in this case) and will not budge until it gets to 230 or 240. The reason for this, is that many people have brought there car in to be serviced because the gauge kept swinging around the ideal temperature, but never staying put... so the temp gauge actually is quite pointless. MY QUESTION: does the temp gauge actually ever go above 210 given this is a driver-oriented car and at what temp does the coolant have to reach until the gauge moves?
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    barich1 said:

    If the thermostat's stuck open the light will stay on so that you know the engine is not properly warming up.

    It performs the function of a modern idiot gauge while being cheaper to manufacture.

    That is what a full spectrum temp gauge is for. This combo of a light and an 'overheating' gauge is just stupid.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    djd352 said:

    I also heard that coolant temp gauges are bogus anyway. Apparently people want them, so the manufactures still put them in (or at least emulates them), but they program them such that they don't move once the vehicle is warmed up unless there is a major temp problem. i.e. whenever the temp is within 20 degrees of normal, it shows as 210 (in this case) and will not budge until it gets to 230 or 240. The reason for this, is that many people have brought there car in to be serviced because the gauge kept swinging around the ideal temperature, but never staying put... so the temp gauge actually is quite pointless. MY QUESTION: does the temp gauge actually ever go above 210 given this is a driver-oriented car and at what temp does the coolant have to reach until the gauge moves?

    This is true.

    If you attach a code reader device like an Ultragauge (it looks like a small GPS device) that can give real time temp readings you can watch the temp fluctuate by 10-15 degrees while seeing little or no change in needle position.
  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Posts: 878
    edited February 2016
    Those "dumb gauges" are actually smarter than gauges that have actual real time readings. The temperature gauges that don't move will move if there is a problem and give you a overheat warning before there is a problem. The computer will notice that coolant temperature is rising despite it requesting maximum engine cooling. In this case it would move the gauge towards an overheat position. The engine hasn't overheated and is still in an acceptable range but the computer warns you because it has detected a fault in the cooling system and is having trouble maintaining coolant temperature.

    And I like how BMW pioneered the variable redline on the tach when the engine is cold many years ago. Cold engines had a much lower redline and as it warmed up it moved to it's normal position. Better than the blue light.
  • schen72schen72 Posts: 433
    The first time I drove a New Beetle, the blue coolant light didn't faze me. It was intuitive to me that it meant "cold" as it would turn off after a few minutes of driving. But that NB didn't even have ANY coolant gauge!
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    The "dumb gauges" are set up to make the average driver, who wants gauges, but doesn't really understand engines, feel better. I absolutely want to see how the coolant and oil pressure fluctuate from driving. I get that the engine temp will climb if I'm sitting at a stop light in the summer with the AC going. But a stinking gauge that stays right at "normal" without moving until you've exceeded your recommended high setting is too late to do me any good. For all intents and a purposes, you've taken valuable dash real estate and replaced it with an analog idiot light. Mazda's little digital gauge is no better. This is not a win.
  • But a stinking gauge that stays right at "normal" without moving until you've exceeded your recommended high setting is too late to do me any good

    It doesn't move when you have exceeded your recommended high setting. The computer will indicate a problem before coolant temp even reaches it's high setting. The computer knows that temperatures fluctuate just as you do and isn't concerned about normal fluctuations just like you. Modern systems monitor everything from coolant temperature to airflow coming through the radiator so they are able to alert you to a problem before it arises. For example new cooling systems determines what fan speed is needed by CFMs not just temperature or if the A/C is on or off. A bag blown into the condenser will cause the computer to request higher fan speeds even at lower temperatures because it senses reduced airflow through the radiator . If it's algorithms determine that the system is not responding as it should and/or there is not enough airflow coming through the radiator at the highest fan speed it will begin to move the gauge to hot. There is no overheating situation and the temperature is normal but there is a problem with the cooling system. Now the gauge is not at it's always 190 degree position but showing an actual 220 degree position. Still normal but it has your attention because it's at a position you never see it at. All because a garbage bag is blocking airflow to the radiator on a hot summer day. With a real time gauge you would never know that a bag is blocking your radiator because the 220 degree reading sitting in traffic on a hot day is perfectly normal.
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