Explain the function of a thermostat in an automobile cooling system.

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  1. Wayne Brown profile image84
    Wayne Brownposted 10 years ago

    Explain the function of a thermostat in an automobile cooling system.

  2. PhoenixV profile image66
    PhoenixVposted 10 years ago

    Why does this seem like a trick question?  With that cowboy hat you look like you oughta know about thermostats. Every country guy has to have been under some truck parked under a shade tree 'a workin ' on it.

    A thermostat in a car, regulates the temperature of the engine by allowing engine coolant to circulate between the engine and radiator. The thermostat is a mechanical valve that opens and closes, either allowing water to circulate or not to varying degrees according to the temperature.

    Least that was the way the old cars used to work, I live in the southwest and usually pulled them out and threw them away, when theyd get stuck.

  3. equipmentpro profile image70
    equipmentproposted 10 years ago

    Your automobile engine circulates water through the radiator to cool itself down when it is running.  The engine operates most efficiently between certain temperatures.  Too cold and it wastes fuel, too hot and it can be damaged, sometimes permanently.  The thermostat is there to keep the cooling water from circulating from the engine through the radiator until the water that surrounds the engine (sometimes called the cooling jacket) reaches a pre-determined temperature.

    It is important not to run the engine for long periods with a bad thermostat (or with no thermostat), because this can cause overheating if it is stuck closed, and reduced gas mileage if it is stuck open.  Also, if you need to change your thermostat, be sure to replace it with one that opens at the recommended temperature for the engine.  If an engine is modified for racing, then a cooler thermostat is sometimes used to compensate for inadequate radiator sizing, since racing engines tend to run very hot.

    Another side effect of a thermostat that is stuck open is that your car heater will take longer to warm up because the heater takes it's water from the engine, not from the radiator.  So if the engine is cooling prematurely, then the water stays colder longer. 

    If having a good thermostat in your engine causes overheating consistently, then you have another issue.  It could be a cracked cylinder head, a plugged radiator, or a bad water pump.  Hope this helps.

  4. Wayne Brown profile image84
    Wayne Brownposted 10 years ago

    Note to the readers...Maybe I should have qualified this question...I have a regular habit of asking questions to which I already know the answer otherwise how could I decide who gets the points! LOL!  The desire is to see if YOU know the answer! Thanks much for your responses! WB

  5. shynsly profile image61
    shynslyposted 10 years ago

    Using what basically amounts to a glob of wax trapped in a metal pill with a valve, it regulates the flow of coolant between the engine and the radiator... keeping coolant in the engine long enough to actually draw heat from it while keeping the hot coolant in the radiator long enough to cool it down. Based on the size and composition of that "glob of wax", it determines the operating temperature of the engine. (do I get any points/ =P)

  6. karlschatz profile image59
    karlschatzposted 10 years ago

    a thermostat is installed at the coolant outlet in the blockor in the intake manifold to make the engine warm up faster.when closed it prevents coolant flow between the block and the radiator.thermostats have an expansive wax that expands after a pre-determined temp(stamped on thermostat)when temp(195 f-215)reaches a valve opens and allows coolant to flow.the rating is set so the vehical can operate at optimal engine temp.But if you're cooling system is a reverse flow(meaning thermostat is located at the top of the lower radiator hose at the inlet to the coolant pump)the thermostat will partialy open with increasing coolant temp. through the water the water pump.the cool coolant from the radiator will cause the the thermostat to close.this causes the engine to warm more gradually and the temp of the heater is more consistant.


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