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So I bought this car brand new and up until a few months ago the temp gauge ran exactly in the middle-all of the time. But now it seems the temp gauge is running up to the next line past half way. It doesn't matter if it is cold out or if I am running down hill. It eventually goes back down to half way, especially if I turn on the heater. I took the car in the other day thinking the thermostat was bad but they ran it through 5 cycles and all they could find was the upper radiator hose was a little loose. Well, its still running what I consider to be hot. I put new Dexcool in a few months ago and the car has about 282,000 miles on it. The radiator is about 2 years old as well. Any ideas on what could be making it run warm like that? They told me the normal operating temp is about 217 degrees and that is what they measured as well. Thanks!
 

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So the heater core works like a small radiator, which is why it cools when you have your heat on.

My first instinct is thermostat stuck closed, preventing flow of hot coolant to the radiator. But you say the shop tested it and there was no issue.

Since you say it doesn't matter whether you're running downhill or not, that can most likely rule out your radiator fans not coming on, but I'd check just to be safe.

Moving on, is your water pump okay? Are there any leaks? Did you bleed out the system when you filled the radiator? Air bubbles can get trapped near the water pump, causing it to cavitate and basically be useless. Thus, instead of flowing coolant through your radiator, the coolant becomes static.

217 degrees sounds about right. Was the gauge reading high (i.e., overheating) when they measured it? If it was, it could simply be a gauge or coolant temperature sensor problem.

Hope this points you in the right direction
 
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