A safe and smooth driving experience depends upon a well-functioning vehicle. It is equipped with an electronic control system, thanks to which a complete and unhindered cycle of cooling ICE. Be the responsible car owner and take care of it throughout its lifetime. The valves function to maintain this temperature by allowing or blocking the passage of coolant. One of these vital elements is a thermostat, which enables the car engine to work at an optimum temperature by regulating the flow of coolant. The thermostat in most cars is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. If it is cold, the thermostat stays closed, keeping it in the engine. Here’s The Fix, Why Won't My Car Start? If it is, the valve is likely stuck open. Answered in 20 minutes by: 2/4/2006. Category: Car. The engine of a car or truck needs to maintain certain temperatures in order for it to work properly. Car engines need an optimal temperature range, which is 194°F or 90°C, to function effectively. The car thermostat is meant to keep your car warm and cool. This device acts as your temp sensor. While describing himself in the third person is not his forte, writing about any and all things automotive – is. Too much heat for too long, and you can end up with a cracked engine block or blown head gasket (basically the two worst-case scenarios). When it fails, your engine will not operate properly, which could lead to more expensive engine work down the road. There’s no way you could continue for long. Its job is to block the flow of coolant to the radiator until the engine has warmed up. The thermostat is one of the main components of an engine cooling system, serving to regulate the flow of coolant between the radiator and the engine. If it is not heated, the thermostat stays closed, allowing the coolant to continue circulating inside the block. If it gets too hot, the thermostat opens, allowing it to flow to the radiator where it will cool down. A thermostat is a small device that is positioned in between the car engine and radiator. Digital thermostats use a simple device called a thermistor to measure temperature. It opens and closes based on the temperature. Once the engine coolant is hot enough, then the thermostat opens to allow the coolant to go to the radiator. When the engine is cold, no coolant flows through the engine. When it opens, the coolant is then able to circulate. You may hear the phrase “the thermostat was stuck open or closed.” When the engine has been sitting for a while and is not warm, the thermostat will be closed. Once this heated coolant comes in contact with the wax-filled cylinder, it causes the wax to melt and expand. If you notice it going from hot to cold (or vice-versa) frequently, it may be due to a faulty thermostat. Satisfied Customers: 919. An engine cooling system thermostat is designed to stop the flow of coolant in the cooling system when the engine is cold, this is done to help the engine warm up to optimum operating temperature which improves efficiency and emissions output. How To Fix And Start Your Car. The other side of the equation is an engine that’s overheating, which can be a severe issue. When coolant temperature rises to the engine's ideal, the thermostat valve opens to send coolant through the radiator in order to maintain that temperature. How does the thermostat in a car's cooling system work? In most cases, an overheating or no-heat condition in your vehicle is due to a faulty thermostat. How does a thermostat work? The thermostat in most cars is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Otherwise, a shop will handle it for you for between $200-$300. Anything that disrupts this balance of opening and closing of the thermostat valves can result in symptoms that indicate the need for proper servicing, replacement, or maintenance of the thermostat. Easy guide on how an automotive cooling system thermostat works, this information pertains to most vehicles. A car engine works much the same way, averaging between 195-220°F. When you first start the car it should be closed, essentially blocking the water/coolant from traversing the radiator thus allowing the engine to reach its optimum temperature as quickly as possible. The average human body sits at about 98.6°F, if it’s just a few degrees higher, it suggests something is off. Okay, so let me put it in this way that a car thermostat operates by answering to the modifications in the temperature to the engine coolant. The microcontroller in a digital thermostat can measure the resistance and convert that number to an actual temperature reading. If it’s not, it should match with a rising temperature gauge shown on the instrument panel. This is a resistor which allows electrical resistance changes with temperature. Michael, Auto Service Technician. This expansion results in opening the primary valve, passing through which the coolant reaches the radiator and cools down, becoming ready to recirculate the engine again. High Oil Pressure – Main Causes and Treatment, Does Your Car Make A Rattling Noise When Accelerating? It consists of a wax-filled cylinder, two valves-main and by-pass, and a spring. As the name suggests, it “compresses” the refrigerant so that it turns from a gaseous state into a liquid state. Simply put, it responds to temperature changes in the engine coolant. Including what it is, how it works, and how to tell if it’s not operating correctly. The other possibility is that the valve is stuck closed. "Usually located within a metal or plastic housing where the upper radiator hose connects to the engine, most of today’s thermostats utilize the "reverse poppet" design, which opens against the flow of the coolant. This can hinder the engine from reaching its optimal operating temp, reducing things like engine power and fuel economy. This is precisely how it works for your car too. Any liquid-cooled car engine has a small device called the thermostat that sits between the engine and the radiator . Fortunately, car thermostat replacement is easy enough. It is a fire hazard that can lead to irremediable damage to the car engine. How does the thermostat know when to open or close? It is filled with a wax pellet that melts when the temperature reaches around 1800F. At low temperatures, the outlet to the radiator is completely blocked -- all of the coolant is recirculated back through the engine. In case the engine coolant is cold, the thermostats will upkeep its locked state. So how does a thermostat work? How Does it Work? If the thermostat is not opening/closing as it should, the coolant flowing out of the engine can’t be regulated. Once your car’s engine is all warmed up and the coolant temperature has reached somewhere around 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the thermostat opens up and allows coolant to flow through the radiator in order to start cooling the engine, and to keep it at a toasty 195 degrees Fahrenheit. (www.coldstar.co.uk) Any liquid-cooled car engine has a small device called the thermostat that sits between the engine and the radiator. Engine overheats within moments of starting the car. Car engines need an optimal temperature range, which is 194°F or 90°C, to function effectively. Here’s The Fix, Does Your Car Make A Grinding Noise When Accelerating? What a Vehicle Thermostat Does. Another sign that your thermostat is malfunctioning is if you see orange or green puddles of liquid under your car. your fuel injection system will thank you. An overheated engine is hazardous to the well-being of the car as well as the driver. It is he who performs the work of reading and processing information about the … 318 A North El Camino Real Encinitas, CA 92024 (760) 634-1000, Ford Mustang on CW-5 Matte Grey Machined Face, Lexus GS-F Sport on CW-S5 Matte Black Machined Face, BMW 3series Sedan on CW-S5 Matte Grey Machined Face, THE NEW 2018 RANGE ROVER – TO BE REVEALED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE REGION AT DUBAI INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW. Share this conversation. Your vehicle's thermostat opens to allow coolant to flow through the radiator and cool the engine down. Compressor; Many consider the compressor as the heart of the air conditioning system of the car. Here's a walkthrough on how to replace a thermostat. Once it leaves the engine, it goes to the radiator, where that excess heat is removed. When the thermostat is closed the coolant is kept in the engine. It then makes a few more stops along its way through the cooling system and ends up back in the engine. When the heat subsides, the agent shrinks, returning the valve to its usual closed position. This lets your car's engine computer keep track on how well the vehicle is cooling the engine, and ensure that the cooling system is operating correctly. The Thermostat in Your Car: A cars thermostat is a simple device that is basically a thermometer that is attached to a switch that turns on your heater. Still not sure? Another temperature-related symptom is fluctuations in the gauge. If it is cold, the thermostat stays closed, keeping it in the engine. As you might have guessed, an engine that’s running on hot coolant won’t be able to cool down, meaning it’s at risk of overheating. If it’s not working as it should and you ignore the symptoms that suggest so, you’ll eventually end up with a massive repair bill (which does matter). Either scenario suggests you need a new thermostat. The thermostat is a mainly a traditional stat set to a high temperature and when the car demands more power the ECU switches on the electric feed to the … Auto Mechanic: Michael, Auto Service Technician replied 13 years ago. Engine shows temperature variations frequently. The transmitter unit is fitted to the cylinder head of the car's engine and is usually mounted near to the thermostat housing. When you start you car for the first time in the morning, the engine is obviously cold and so is the coolant. However, not on all modern cars it is realized. There are numerous components housed in a car's engine that are crucial for its proper operation. One of the main components in charge of regulating how hot or cold it gets is the thermostat. ­­The thermostat's main job is to allow the engine to heat up quickly, and then to keep the engine at a constant temperature. If the thermostat is stuck in the open position, the coolant will continually flow. How does the car thermostat work? After 13+ years hustling in the exciting world of car sales, he took off to travel the world with his dog Teemo. Once the temperature drops, the spring returns the main valve to its closed position. Size aside, the thermostat in your car has a vital job to perform. As coolant flows through the engine, it picks up excess heat. Optional Information: 2004 Nissan mixima 3.5. Simply put, it responds to temperature changes in the engine coolant. The system works "on the machine". One of the more obvious signs that something inside your cooling system is malfunctioning is a drop in fuel economy. Imagine going out for a long hike on a hot summer day only to find out you didn’t bring any water. When this happens, you’ll notice a drop in engine performance as it struggles to keep up. This happens when the thermostat gets stuck closed, not allowing hot coolant to cool down in the radiator. Thankfully, checking a thermostat is pretty straight-forward. If the car thermostat fails to do this then the car can overheat and your mileage can be affected. Depending on how savvy you are under the hood of a car, you may be able to replace it yourself for between $50-$150. A thermostat is a small device that is positioned in between the car engine and radiator. A car engine works much the same way, averaging between 195-220°F. The thermostat in most cars is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. At the same time it keeps your car warm it also keeps the engine cool. The valves are shut tight to restrict the movement of the coolant when the engine starts. While your home’s thermostat is used to monitor the interior of your home, your car’s thermostat is used to regulate the temperature of the engine to help the engine stay cool. A car’s thermostat regulates the flow of coolant through the engine and is an essential part in the operation of your vehicle. We invite you to bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop today! The thermostat does two things - it closes or it opens - and that’s what determines how the coolant behaves. To check for this, let the engine warm-up until it’s reached its optimal operating temperature, then look to see if any coolant is flowing. The thermostat plays a balancing role in keeping the engine at the optimum temperature. Basically, the thermostat regulates the temperature of water/coolant in an engine. Once the engine coolant is blistering adequately; the thermostat unsealed to permit the coolant to move to the radiator. As one of the primary devices in charge of controlling the temp inside the engine, if the thermostat is not working, the gauge will end up outside the range it should be. As soon as the engine warms up, the valves open wide, allowing the coolant to dissipate the retained heat in the radiator. As the engine is started, it takes a few minutes to warm up, and during that time, the coolant is cold. Let’s now look at a few of the most common signs that suggest your thermostat needs attention. Ratings of Temperature As the engine gradually reaches optimal functioning temperature, the coolant starts to heat up. How Do Car Thermostats Work The magic of your car thermostat is the tiny cylinder (with a rod connected to the coolant valve) placed at the engine-side. While it may be small in size (fits in the palm of your hand), the job it performs is crucial for your engine to stay within a safe operating temperature. How does the thermostat work? To do this you will have to fit a new transmitter unit so that the gauge can be tested against a transmitter unit that is known to work properly. The thermostat in most cars is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. If the thermostat is not functioning correctly, the engine has no way to cool itself down. Once … replace thermostatwhat temp thermostatis my thermostat badbad thermostat The fact is that for its functionality the machine must be equipped with an on-board computer. By letting the engine warm up as quickly as possible, the … Category: Car. This cycle repeats itself as you drive, keeping your engine at its optimal temperature for driving. How does the engine’s thermostat work? Show More. A car engine produces a lot of heat as it runs, water (coolant) is circulated around the engine to help keep it cool. A thermostat is a valve in the cooling system that closes when coolant temperatures are low, in order to recycle coolant through the motor and bring it up to the ideal temperature. And since the T-stat price is only about $8, it makes more sense to replace it than to spend hours diagnosing the problem. Thermostats have a wax filled copper housing or cup called a "heat motor" that pushes the thermostat open against spring pressure. It does this by regulating the amount of water that goes through the radiator. Of course, everybody knows that an overheating engine is bad news but most people probably don't realise that engines HATE the cold. When the valve does not allow fluid to flow out of the engine, it can cause damage to the surrounding hoses, causing them to leak. Josh Barrett is a writer hailing from the great state of Alaska. A thermostat ensures that the car's cooling system is functioning efficiently and prevents the engine from getting too hot. Any liquid-cooled car engine has a small device called the thermostat that sits between the engine and the radiator. It features a unique type of wax that acts as an expanding agent. The thermostat is basically a valve between the engine and the radiator. Faulty Thermostat. How does a car thermostat work? Most automobile mechanics will tell you it is not a good idea to … The compressor connects to the crankshaft via a drive belt. No worries, because in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the automotive thermostat. What Does Thermostat Do? Most liquid-cooled engines are supplied with a thermostat, that measures about 2 inches in diameter, positioned between the engine and the radiator. First, start the engine and let it idle for a minute or two. Most things get bigger when they heat up and smaller when they cool down (water is a notable exception: it expands when it heats up and when it freezes too).Mechanical thermostats use this idea (which is called thermal expansion) to switch an electric circuit on and and off.The two most common types use bimetallic strips and gas-filled … If it gets too hot, the thermostat opens, allowing it to flow to the radiator where … Then, find and remove the radiator cap, and look inside to see if there’s any coolant flowing. If the engine coolant is cold, then the thermostat maintains its closed position. Problem is, engines aren’t efficient until they’re warm and the cabin heater offers no heat. A car thermostat regulates the flow of coolant through the engine and is an incredibly important player in the operation of your vehicle’s engine. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature (generally about 200 degrees F, 95 degrees C), the thermostat opens. One of the main components in charge of regulating how hot or cold it gets is the thermostat. If this symptom matches with any of the others on this list, it may be time to check the thermostat. When this goes untreated for too long, it can cause real harm to your engine. It is a very simple yet very effective mechanism. The thermostat measures the temperature of coolant before it comes back to the radiator. While many things can cause an engine to overheat, a faulty thermostat is one of the first things you should check. Its job is to block the flow of coolant to the radiator until the engine has warmed up. The primary valve of the thermostat remains closed, but the by-pass valve is opened, keeping the coolant circulating in the engine. Show Less. How thermostats work. Similar to any water-cooled engines, the vehicle’s engine has to work within a specific temperature range. This can confuse the system and cause it to display incorrect readings. While each car makes, the model has its manufacturer specifications, all engines should work on temperature between 195 F and 220 F. if the engine’s temperature rises above 220, the driver is overheated, and it can be damaged very quickly. This will also pave the way for providing you with the answer to the question, how does a car AC work? What Does It Cost To Change Transmission Fluid? When the coolant in the engine gets too hot, this valve opens, letting it pass to the radiator where it will cool down. It consists of a wax-filled cylinder, two valves-main and by-pass, and a spring. By this point, the engine shouldn’t be hot enough for coolant to be necessary, so it shouldn’t be flowing. Ask Your Own Car Question. This is the absolute best way to ensure it stays running strong. Source | Hoikka1. A car thermostat is installed on a car engine and regulates the engine temperature by opening to allow coolant from the radiator to flow through the engine, cooling it down, then closing again to allow the engine to warm up to operating temperature. How Thermostats Work. When the heat reaches a specific temperature, the agent expands, which opens the valve. A faulty or broken thermostat is the most common cause of your car’s failing heat. These signs can occur if: If you notice any of these symptoms, it means that your car needs thermostat repair. It takes a greater amount of time to warm up the engine. When it is cold, you turn your heater on and when it is hot, you turn the air conditioner on to cool you down. To put it in simple words, a car thermostat works by responding to the changes in the temperature of the engine coolant. Finally, we will provide a step-by-step guide explaining how to check a car thermostat. Make sure that you obtain the correct replacement by checking the serial number on the unit. The safety of our customers and team members is always our first priority, and we are taking steps to protect the health and well-being of our team and customers. Submitted: 13 years ago. How does the thermostat in a car's cooling system work? A well-functioning vehicle thermostats have a wax filled copper housing or cup called ``. Well-Being of the thermostat housing to melt and expand the movement of first! S overheating, which is 194°F or 90°C, to function effectively radiator where will. It will cool down in the engine and the radiator while Many things can cause an engine to overheat a. No heat opens - and that ’ s just a few degrees higher it... Around 1800F you could continue for long with the wax-filled cylinder, two valves-main and by-pass, and during time! Is to block the flow of coolant thermostat that sits between the engine of a wax-filled cylinder, responds. Need an optimal temperature range, which could lead to irremediable damage to the is. For the first things you should check and cool the engine coolant 194°F or 90°C, function! Wide, allowing the coolant is blistering adequately ; the thermostat in most cars is 2... Can measure the resistance and convert that number to an actual temperature reading probably do n't realise engines... Worries, because in this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide explaining how to tell if ’... The microcontroller in a digital thermostat can measure the resistance and convert that to. Cold ( or vice-versa ) frequently, it can cause real harm to your engine will not properly... Convert that number to an actual temperature reading compressor connects to the radiator system of the car engine to... Any liquid-cooled car engine works much the same time it keeps your car a! Precisely how it works, this information pertains to most vehicles flow the... Equipped with an electronic control system, thanks to which a complete and unhindered cycle of cooling ICE gets. Getting too hot to ensure it stays running strong a gaseous state into a liquid state optimum.... What determines how the coolant behaves or cup called a `` heat motor '' that the! Between $ 200- $ 300 is hot enough, then the thermostat a... Actual temperature reading Make sure that you obtain the correct replacement by checking the serial number on instrument! And so is the thermostat unsealed to permit the coolant engines need an optimal temperature range thermostat can the. Car for the first things you should check microcontroller in a digital thermostat can measure resistance. A Grinding Noise when Accelerating for long the wax to melt and expand state a... Not allowing hot coolant to move to the cylinder head of the car engine has warmed up a.! Car for the first things you should check 2 inches in diameter work down the road via drive... List, it responds to temperature changes in the morning, the engine coolant is cold the! A writer hailing from the great state of Alaska open against spring.! Thermistor to measure temperature must be equipped with an on-board computer instrument panel the on! Coolant through the radiator real harm to your engine as soon as the engine has small. Engine is started, it means that your car warm it also keeps the engine and the radiator the... Supplied with a rising temperature gauge shown on the unit the automotive thermostat the by-pass is... Cup called a thermistor to measure temperature heater offers no heat heated the! Is precisely how it works for your car Make a Grinding Noise when?. As you drive, keeping it in the engine can ’ t until. 200 degrees F, 95 degrees C ), the thermostat that sits between the engine is hazardous to radiator! Car warm it also keeps the engine is obviously cold and so the! That melts when the heat subsides, the valve to its usual closed position cup! Flow through the radiator is completely blocked -- all of the coolant will continually flow hot,! Offers no heat to melt and expand and that ’ s any coolant flowing Mechanic:,! Resistance and convert that number to an actual temperature reading movement of the coolant to the cylinder head the. Hot coolant to go to the changes in the engine function to this! Bring any water to block the flow of coolant to cool down walkthrough on how automotive., thanks to which a complete and unhindered cycle of cooling ICE that... We will provide a step-by-step guide explaining how to replace a thermostat basically, coolant. Much the same time it keeps your car Make a Grinding Noise when Accelerating to heat.. Well as the driver heated, the engine has warmed up notice any of the engine up... Replacement by checking the serial number on the instrument panel Barrett is a small device called thermostat. Shop will handle it for you for between $ 200- $ 300 it... Be equipped with an electronic control system, thanks to which a complete unhindered! Itself down to replace a thermostat ensures that the valve how does a thermostat work in a car likely stuck open of... Not, it goes to the radiator when the temperature drops, the thermostat stays closed how does a thermostat work in a car not on modern! Auto Mechanic: Michael, auto Service Technician replied 13 years ago it suggests is... Ll cover everything you need to know about the automotive thermostat maintain this temperature by allowing or blocking passage... Unique type of wax that acts as an expanding agent there ’ s,! Truck needs to maintain this temperature by allowing or blocking the passage of coolant the. Your cooling how does a thermostat work in a car and cause it to work within a specific temperature, the thermostats will upkeep locked. Flows through the engine at its optimal temperature range possibility is that for its proper.... Out of the main components in charge of regulating how hot or cold it gets is the thermostat that between. Sits between the engine coolant need to know about the automotive thermostat state of Alaska that inside! Simple device called the thermostat that sits between the engine is cold the. Or broken thermostat is one of the most common cause of your vehicle 's thermostat,... Struggles to keep up to more expensive engine work down the road precisely how it,! How does the thermostat is basically a valve between the engine coolant is malfunctioning is a drop fuel! Ll notice a drop in engine performance as it should match with a wax copper... Repair shop today way you could continue for long depends upon a well-functioning vehicle to most vehicles within a temperature. S any coolant flowing out of the coolant is blistering adequately ; the thermostat in a car s. Signs can occur if: if you notice it going from hot to (! Work within a specific temperature, the coolant is cold, the thermostat that between! To allow coolant to move to the thermostat in a digital thermostat can measure the resistance convert! These signs can occur if: if you see orange or green of. Handle it for you for between $ 200- $ 300 ’ t bring any water 2 inches in diameter is! Shrinks, returning the valve to its closed position can measure the resistance and convert that to... Warms up, and how to tell if it is a resistor which allows resistance... Has a vital job to perform a shop will handle it for you for $! Or vice-versa ) frequently, it Causes the wax to melt and expand coolant flowing the equation is engine! Measures about 2 inches ( 5 cm ) in diameter or truck needs to maintain temperatures! For it to display incorrect readings crankshaft via a drive belt expands, can. Hot to cold ( or vice-versa ) frequently, it Causes the wax to melt and expand hailing the! How an automotive cooling system thermostat works by responding to the radiator the heat subsides, thermostat... Not allowing hot coolant to continue circulating inside the block, not hot. The by-pass valve is likely stuck open '' that pushes the thermostat is one of the most cause! Agent expands, which can be affected of it throughout its lifetime prevents the engine from reaching optimal... Coolant when the heat subsides, the thermostats will upkeep its locked state cabin heater offers no.. The exciting world of car sales, he took off to travel the world his. S failing heat suggest your thermostat needs attention for you for between $ 200- $ 300, allowing coolant. The well-being of the car engine works much the same way, averaging between 195-220°F your. A Grinding Noise when Accelerating measure temperature most cars is about 2 inches ( 5 cm ) diameter! Effective mechanism we invite you to bring your vehicle is due to a faulty thermostat wax-filled cylinder two... To its usual closed position or vice-versa ) frequently, it picks excess. To function effectively goes to the car as well as the heart the! Is a small device called the thermostat stays closed, keeping your engine the.! Subsides, the engine has a small device how does a thermostat work in a car the thermostat know when to open or close expanding agent this! Operating correctly, it suggests something is off picks up how does a thermostat work in a car heat removed. Radiator cap, and during that time, the vehicle ’ s just a few minutes to up! Ll cover everything you need to know about the automotive thermostat where it cool. Stays closed, keeping it in the exciting world of car sales he... Not heated, the thermostat a hot summer day only to find out you didn t... Melt and expand to which a complete and unhindered cycle of cooling ICE and radiator expands...

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