How Does a Thermostat Work?

It’s amazing how such a little item in a vehicle engine that retails for under $10 can create so much turmoil so easily.  Ever wonder why you water temperature gauge is reading high or in the red zone?  How about if you see the needle go up and then back down?  Then there’s my favorite, with no warning a red light comes on for the engine, which is always a scary thing?  Each of these can give you fits and change a pleasant day into a disaster instantly.

The engine thermostat in a vehicle is a device that regulates the amount of coolant which is allowed to flow between the engine and the radiator. The thermostat is located in between the radiator and the engine and is only about 2 inches in diameter. This simply device regulates the amount of water so a form of high temperature coolant that can flow to the radiator until the engine reaches its desired temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  This device lets the engine warm up before letting coolant flow into it.  By doing this, it helps reduce wear and tear and help with deposits and emissions. Without a proper working thermostat, the engine will be less efficient and could possibly overheat.

The thermostat in itself is actually a well thought out simply device.  It works by using a small cylinder on the engine side of the device.  This small cylinder is filled with wax that begins to melt at around 180 F/82 C.  A rod which is connected to the valve presses into the wax.  When the wax begins to melt, it will expand therefore pushing the rod out of the cylinder which will open the valve.

As with all the different vehicle manufacturers that exist, using all kinds of different engines, there is a wide variety of thermostats available to be put on different engines.  Most automotive thermostats are known as “pellet type”, which comes from the wax pellet that expands as the engine coolant warms.  Some high-range thermostats can maintain engine temperatures at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Having an engine that operates at this temperature causes the engine to burn up more pollutants and helps in emissions control.  The type of engine thermostat used is chosen depending on the type of engine, load requirements, and the weather the engine will operate in.

Information like this above is the type of information that’s in the Wiki section of Shopper Outlet Network Automotive Products Directory.

Understanding what’s happening to your vehicle is important, and we’re here to bring you that information to better serve you!