A thermostat is a simple device inside your car's engine that functions just like a thermometer. It measures the variations of temperature around the engine. These temperatures matter a lot because they tell when the cooling system of the car needs to be activated. It also allows water to flow in the engine to keep it running and to prevent the car from overheating.
There are other things about the thermostat that you may want to know in case you're planning to buy and replace the old one. Here are the functions, types, and features of a thermostat.
The fundamental function of a thermostat is to regulate the temperature around the engine. It tells when the temperature is too high or too low. If the engine is too hot, the thermostat would then allow the coolant to flow to the radiator. It also works the other way around. When you're warming the car up in the morning and the engine is still a bit cold, the thermostat does not allow water to run to the radiator so that you can heat up the engine to its optimum.
The thermostat is made up of the body or the frame, the valve, and a ball of wax. The body is made of a high-quality compound that can resist rust and extreme heat and moisture. The ball of wax is right at the middle of the valve or the opening. When the engine runs and reaches a certain high temperature, the ball of wax starts to melt and opens the valve to let the water flow and cools the engine down.
Tips for Buyers
Sizes of thermostats vary so always check the original before buying a replacement. Always compare the new one with the old. You can check your car's manual to see if it states a particular type or brand of thermostat to be put on your vehicle.
When it comes to type, the only difference is the pre-set temperature in which the valve should open. Car models at present usually have 190 to 195 degree-Fahrenheit threshold. There is no standard type though. You should also take into consideration the kind of vehicle that you have. If you have race cars or sports cars, better use a 160 degree-Fahrenheit type so the engine won't overheat quickly.
Some people think that thermostats are not important. This is a common misconception. Without the thermostat, it will take longer for the engine to reach the normal operating temperature. There will be more fuel usage and more gas emissions. So don't be fooled by this disbelief.