You are watching: What does a thermostat do if it gets too cold
Cooling system diagram. Click because that a bigger image
The coolant flows through the engine where it absorbs the heat and into the height of the radiator. A radiator is constructed of many flat aluminum tubes surrounding by fins. The waiting passing v the radiator cools under the coolant as it flows under the radiator. One or two electric fans attached to the ago of the radiator revolve on when required to force more air through the radiator. A water pump traction the coolant indigenous the radiator and also moves it earlier into the engine. The typical operating temperature that a modern engine is in between 194°F (90°C) and 221°F (105°C). The task of a thermostat is to aid the engine warmth up faster and maintain the engine temperature over the minimum operating temperature (194°F or 90°C). A traditional thermostat is a basic temperature-controlled two-way valve that opens at a stated temperature.
In many cars, a thermostat is set up on the engine and is associated to the top or reduced radiator hose. View a couple of examples: thermostat in a Ford 2.3L EcoBoost engine. This picture shows the thermostat housing in the Mazda 2.3L turbo DISI engine. This is the picture of a thermostat housing in the dodge Charger SRT hem engine.
How a thermostat works:
Thermostat inside the housing. Ford engine cutaway. Click for a larger photo
when the engine is started cold, the thermostat (the main valve) is closed; there is no circulation through the radiator. The smaller by-pass valve is open and also the coolant circulates only within the engine and through the auto heating system. Together the engine warms increase closer to the operation temperature, the thermostat gradually opens up, permitting coolant circulation through the radiator. In cold weather, if the engine temperature autumn close come the lower limit of the operating range (194°F or 90°C), the thermostat close the door again.
Symptoms the a bad thermostatsymptoms of a negative thermostat have the right to be divided in 2 types: Thermostat grounding open: when the thermostat is grounding open, the engine temperature drops below normal as soon as driving, especially on the highway in cold weather. A stuck-open thermostat can likewise cause absence of heat from the heating system. The check Engine light may come on too. Thermostat grounding closed: once the thermostat is stuck closed, the engine might overheat. Besides these 2 cases, the thermostat may also need come be changed if the thermostat housing is leaking coolant.
The engine takes very long to heat up, deserve to it be caused by a thermostat?Yes, a thermostat the is stuck open up is one of possible reasons why it might take too long for the engine to warm up. A short coolant level can additionally cause the exact same problem. In many contemporary cars, however, it"s in reality normal.
plenty of late-model cars have smaller fuel-efficient engines. This means they burn much less fuel and as a result, create less heat. In addition, more recent technologies that mitigate friction within the engine likewise reduce the amount of heat created by friction. In numerous newer cars that takes up to 20-25 minute of driving prior to you can gain decent warmth going in winter. A heater may additionally be no as strong as in enlarge cars with a larger engine. It"s a trade-off for better gas mileage. Together we mentioned, one sign that the thermostat is stuck open up (or missing) is when the engine temperature drops below normal as soon as driving top top the highway in cold weather.
How the thermostat is testedas soon as dealing with any type of cooling mechanism problem, the coolant level is confirm first. Check out more: how to inspect the coolant level. In old days, trial and error of the thermostat connected removing and heating it while submerged in water. In ~ the temperature significant on the thermostat, it would begin opening. In modern-day cars, the procedure of the thermostat is monitored through the engine computer system (PCM). In many cases, if a thermostat is stuck closed or open, the inspect Engine light would certainly come on. Most common inspect Engine light codes regarded a thermostat space P0128 and P0126.
Mechanic actions radiator water tap temperature through an infrared thermometer
can you test a thermostat there is no removing it? Mechanics check the thermostat by measuring the temperature that the upper and lower radiator hoses through an infrared thermometer, while monitoring the engine temperature through a scan tool. Watch the chart below. In this chart, the yellow heat is the temperature that the engine, the red heat is the temperature of the upper radiator hose and the blue heat is the temperature the the lower radiator hose. as soon as the engine is started cold, the top hose warms up through the engine, but because there is no circulation through the radiator, the lower radiator hose continues to be cold.
The engine warms up in ~ idle. The yellow line is the engine temperature. The thermostat opens at 185°F (85°C) and the temperature that the lower radiator hose (blue line) becomes virtually the very same as the temperature of the upper radiator water tap (red line).
In this Honda in the chart, the thermostat starts opened at about 185°F (85°C). As the thermostat opens and also coolant beginning flowing v the radiator, the temperature of the reduced radiator rises conveniently close to the temperature the the top hose. At about 204°F (96°C), the radiator pan comes on and the temperature autumn a couple of degrees. The thermostat in this car works properly. If a thermostat to be stuck open, the reduced radiator water tap would start warming increase as shortly as the engine is started. If a thermostat to be stuck closed, there would be no flow even after the engine got to the operating temperature, and the reduced radiator hose would stay cool. the course, lack of circulation through the radiator have the right to be resulted in by numerous other factors besides a stuck-closed thermostat. If a thermostat is stuck closed, the engine might overheat, i beg your pardon can an outcome in high value repairs. If there is a suspicion that the thermostat is grounding closed, it"s typically replaced.
replacing a thermostat
In one average vehicle replacing a thermostat may price $150-370 parts and also labor. In part cars the access to the thermostat is difficult, requiring more labor. A brand-new thermostat normally comes v a brand-new gasket. When the thermostat is replaced, the engine will should be refilled v fresh coolant (antifreeze). The cooling system will should be correctly bled, to eliminate all waiting pockets. after ~ servicing the cooling system, it"s constantly important to verify that the fans come on when the engine is totally warmed up and the heater inside the car can provide a great heat in ~ idle. Lack of warmth at idle deserve to be led to by air pockets inside the cooling system. must the thermostat be replaced as a component of regular maintenance? It"s not necessary, however, it might be a good idea to change a thermostat as soon as the engine is rebuilt or replaced. A thermostat is likewise often replaced along with a water pump, specifically if castle are located in the same area. part manufacturers introduce updating the engine computer software as soon as there is a inspect Engine code regarded the thermostat, after it has actually been replaced. Us posted several web links where girlfriend can obtain a subscription fee based access to a manufacturing facility repair manual in this article.
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