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Discussion Starter #1
I have noticed that the bonnet of my 96 Rav4 gets very hot after only short drives yet the temp gauge is only in the central position. Is this normal? There is no insulation mat on the underside of the bonnet I have looked on other models of the same year and they don't have one either is this the cause? or is it just a peculiarity of RAV4s.

Richard
 

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This is normal and happens with all cars. Some cars will be hotter than others depending on the amount of insulation.
 
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It has a lot to do with the fact that the middle of the gauge is still hot enough to burn you pretty good if you're not careful about touching the engine. Engines are basically just housings for controlled explosions that take place one right after the other. I'm sure there's a more accurate measurement, but I'd guess along the lines of four of them a second in a RAV at idle, and increasingly more the faster you go.

Even a short drive will heat up the engine, and RAVs don't have a whole lot of hood insulation. It could probably be installed, though, if you're really that worried about it, but it's not necessary or anything, unless you plan to sunbathe on your hood immediately after driving. Even with added insulation, it's still going to get hot eventually. Insulation anywhere, particularly in a car hood, works like a hot pad for picking up hot things. Eventually, the heat will get through to your hand, but a better (thicker, or more resistant substance) hot pad will keep the heat away longer.
 
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