What are Automotive Thermostats?

What are Automotive Thermostats?

The clouds of steam that pour from beneath the hood of your family car might be a sign of many car dilemmas. The radiator may have sprung a leak or run dry. The water pump may have failed, or hose may have ruptured. Or perhaps the car’s thermostat went bad. Automotive thermostats are very small devices but are integral to the car’s cooling and heating system.

What does the car thermostat control?

An auto thermostat — at least upon water-cooled cars — will control the coolant flow through your engine. As the car is cold, your thermostat will prevent coolant from getting from the radiator to your engine. As the car reaches a suitable operating temperature, your vehicle thermostat will open up and permit coolant to circulate. It’s important for the survival of your engine. An auto thermostat is simplistic beyond belief, and can be described as part valve, part switch, and part thermometer.

Where is the car thermostat located?

The auto thermostat is situated at the end of your radiator hose, connected with the engine inside a housing secured by multiple bolts. It’s around 2” in diameter and around 2” in length. As the engine gets to a temperature of roughly 200° F the thermostat will open. Coolant will flow through the cylinder head then is forced through your vehicle’s cooling system by a force of your water pump. Your engine cools, your thermostat closes, and the whole process is repeated as necessary.

The secret behind the operation of an auto thermostat is nothing more than a little wax. The end of your thermostat connected with the engine will contain a cylinder; inside this cylinder includes a chunk of wax which melts at about 180° F. As the wax melts it’ll expand, and push a small rod out of the cylinder then against a valve. This valve opens, and coolant is permitted to flow, and your engine smoothly runs and doesn’t overheat. The wax will solidify and contract as your engine cools, and retracts the rod and closes the valve.

Where to find car thermostat replacements

Automotive Thermostats include one of the cheapest replacement parts on an automobile, and are available through our MotoRad website. It’s a great thing, because they have to be replaced pretty often.

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