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Why your car's thermometer is never accurate

It's probably not actually 102° outside despite what your car says

ATLANTA — We hear it all the time, folks question us about the temperatures we report versus the temperatures on their car thermometer.

For instance, we might report a high of 92° then people tell us their car says it was 102°.

Well, those car thermometers aren’t very accurate and are usually giving you a temperature that is much warmer than reality.

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Here’s the deal: 

The thermometer (or thermistor) on a car is usually located near the front bumper. Sometimes the sensor might even be on a side mirror or back bumper. 

Those aren’t the best places to read an accurate temperature.

That sensor is very close to the hot roadway and warm engine. Your sensor picks up that heat to give an inaccurate reading. 

In order to get an accurate reading, your thermometer should be in the shade. 

That’s why official thermometers from the National Weather Service are sheltered and raised to protect them from direct sunlight and any heat radiating from the ground. 

So the next time you look at your car thermometer and can’t believe how hot it is, that's probably because it really isn't!

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