Just about all modern engines operate at 195°F. On every Chrysler vehicle I've owned this is just short of the half way mark on the temp gauge. If your temp gauge is NOT getting up to that point, something is wrong. If we were talking -10°F its possible a good working cooling system might NOT get all the way up to operating temps, but in most places in the country, it will get up to full operating temp.
Thermostats are cheap and simple parts that rarely last the life of the vehicle, and in most cases when they fail you'll notice it the beginning of winter. They stick open, which won't be a big deal in warm weather, but in cold weather it can be a big deal, NOT only slow to warm up, you may never reach full operating temp.
Running at cooler than designed temps can increase wear and deposits on the engine.
I've also had a the code P0128, twice in the last 2 weeks, with the really cold mornings.
Funny thing is, I put a new thermostat in this summer when I did my coolant change, but it was a cheap aftermarket thermostat. Like I said, they are cheap and simple, its NOT that shocking the cheap replacement failed after 6 months. I just picked up an OEM thermostat at the Dealer today, will be putting it in this weekend.
Oh, the engine block or oil heaters, all they do is keep the engine warmer when its NOT running so it doesn't drop down to the below freezing temps. These are for extreme cold weather, either protect it in Artic Wx or to get the heater working sooner in less than Artic Wx. It will help you warm up faster, but it will do nothing to get you up to full operating temp, these heaters are NOT a solution for a vehicle that is overcooling the engine, they will NOT fix the problem, you need to change out the thermostat. In the off chance the O.P. is experiencing extreme cold, like -10°F or less, it might NOT be the thermostat, but instead the extreme cold, in that case you would have to block off a portion of the radiator with cardboard, if that was the case you would see other cars and trucks doing that in your area.
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Last edited by Mongo; 11-19-2014 at 07:36 AM.