As you know, your car’s engine can get hot. The combustion of fuel in such a contained system means that the engine block gets scorching. So how does your car operate at these temperaturens? Simple, it is regulated by a complex cooling system designed to keep everything running smoothly. One of the most important parts of this system is the automotive thermostat. This small but crucial device helps regulate the car’s internal temperature, making sure that it warms up quickly and stays within the optimal range. Too hot, and it can damage the different components; too cold, and it can wear down the engine. To keep everything in check, the thermostat is held in what’s called the thermostat housing. This is a piece of piping that regulates the amount of coolant that is pumped into the engine, and how quickly it gets there.
Cooling System Basics
Most cars operate best at a temperature range of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Normally, this is around the temperature at which water boils, but your cooling system is pressurized, meaning that the boiling point of your coolant is increased, so this isn’t usually a problem. For this system to work properly, however, the thermostat housing needs to be functional and efficient. To put it simply, the thermostat is like the bouncer at a club, regulating the amount of coolant that is used.
Since your car operates at a relatively high temperature, it’s imperative that the thermostat housing prevents coolant from reaching the engine too soon. If this happens, then it would take longer for it to reach its optimal temperature, which could cause unnecessary wear and tear. Thus, the thermostat only allows coolant to be pumped to the engine once it has come to the right temp.
The way the thermostat works is that wax holds a valve in place, keeping the coolant from leaving the reservoir. Once the engine has been heated, this wax melts, releasing the valve and letting the coolant pump through the system.
While most automotive thermostats are durable and reliable, they do break down and rust, which can cause significant problems. If the valve is stuck in either the closed or open position, it can result in the engine running either too hot or too cold, which will only create bigger issues later on. Thus, it is crucial that you check both the thermostat housing and the thermostat itself for any damage.