What Does The C and H Mean in My Car?

I guess you have been driving your car for a while and you keep wondering what C and H on your dashboard stand for. Anyway, you don’t have to feel embarrassed that you don’t know the meaning. Moreover, not everyone gets to know all the details of an automobile at once. 

In this post, we will be looking at the meaning of the letters c and h and why it is essential to know what each of them stands for.  This is why I will encourage you to keep reading till the end. 

whta does the C and H mean in my car

What Does H and C Mean in My Car?

One way to easily identify the temperature of your car is through the temperature gauge, where C and H are found on your dashboard. The temperature gauge has two parts; one end of the gauge is marked “C” for cold and the other end is marked “H” for hot. 

I believe you know that driving your car when it’s overheating can cause serious damage to your engine, which is why it’s best to stop driving as soon as you discover it.

So, imagine if there was no gauge for you to check the exact temperature of your car. You would not know you are supposed to stop driving and allow the engine to cool off. This is why you must always check the position of your temperature gauge arrow on your dashboard.

Whenever your car starts to overheat—which could be due to improper working of the cooling system or lubrication system—the arrow on your temperature gauge will move toward the “H”.

But, when the temperature gauge arrow is at C, then your car’s engine is very cold and would need to be warmed up a bit by repeatedly turning on the ignition. This mostly occurs during the winter.

Where Should My Car’s Temperature gauge Be While Driving?

Most automobile experts believe that a car’s engine should operate between 195 and 220 degrees. Therefore, when your car’s engine is at the normal operating temperature, the arrow in most automobiles will be at or near the middle.

In other words, if the line indication is in the center of the gauge, then it shows that your car’s cooling system is working properly and the engine is performing admirably.

Also, there might be times when the gauge reads higher than usual, and it’s normal, especially during a particularly hot day. Therefore,  long as the arrow does not continue to move up while you’re driving, it’s not something that should be considered alarming.

Why Is My Car’s Temperature Guage on ‘C’?

One of the most common reasons your temperature gauge stays cold is a faulty coolant temperature sensor. It can also be caused by bad wiring between the cluster and the sensor.

In some cases, it can also be a stuck thermostat causing the engine not to heat up properly. 

The thermostat restricts the coolant from flowing through the radiator. If this gets stuck wide open, the temperature might not reach the optimal temperature.

The weather is another reason your car’s temperature could be on “C.” This is because, during the winter, your engine will have a high tendency to become too cold.

What Happens If My Car Is On ‘H’?

If you are driving and you observe that your car’s temperature gauge is on “H,” this simply means that your automobile is running hot. Overheating damages the engine every time it occurs. 

When the temperature in your automobile rises above the typical range, your car engine is going to overheat. As a result, it’s advised not to drive if you start your car and observe the temperature gauge reading higher than usual.

Why Is My Car’s Engine Overheating?

  • Too little or no coolant 
  • Leakage in the cooling system
  • A broken water pump
  • Faulty radiator 
  • Low oil
  • Failed thermostat 
  • Failure of serpentine belts and hoses

Related Post: Car Overheating Then Going Back To Normal

What Do I Do If My Car’s Temperature Gauge is High?

You need to understand that when your car’s temperature is very high, it is a significant issue, and it is not advisable to drive an overheated vehicle. If your car is experiencing a high temperature, you need to turn off the air conditioner and quickly open the windows. 

If this does not minimize the overheating, turn on the heater to its maximum setting. If this doesn’t work, pull over to the side of the road, turn off the engine, carefully open the hood, and wait for the vehicle to cool down.

When the engine is hot, never open the radiator cap because coolant might spray and burn you. Take the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as it has cooled.


Understanding the meaning of “C and H” on your car dashboard is very important because it will help you indicate the temperature of your car at any point. And this will most often save your car from breaking down while driving.

At this point, I believe you not only know the meaning of the letters but also how overheating can be easily resolved. However, if your car constantly experiences overheating, it is necessary to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a proper check-up and fix.