Thermostatic Radiator Valve
If you drive a vehicle that has a radiator then you will have a thermostatic radiator valve. This is the same thing as a radiator thermostat which it is often referred to as. The thermostatic radiator valve is a small device that is located between the radiator and the engine and tells the radiator when the engines temperature reaches certain levels.
The thermostatic radiator valve, or radiator thermostat, has the ability of opening and closing depending on the engine's temperature. It works to either prevent or allow coolant from the radiator to reach the engine when necessary. The engine must stay within a certain temperature range. Once it reaches a certain temperature, which is generally around 200 degrees F, the thermostat will open. This allows the coolant to circulate from the radiator through the engine to keep the engine running properly without overheating. The engine should not overheat or it can cause serious engine damage.
Although the thermostatic radiator valve is an inexpensive car part to replace, its job is very important. It is important to always have a working radiator thermostat on your vehicle or else the radiator will not know when to distribute the correct amount of coolant. A faulty thermostat will usually remain in either the open or closed position. If it is stuck in the open position then the coolant is able to reach the engine freely and the engine will never reach its perfect operating temperature. An engine that has too much coolant circulating through it will take much longer to warm up. However if the thermostat gets stuck in the closed position then the opposite will happen and the coolant will never reach the engine and the engine will overheat rather quickly.
If you begin noticing that your car is taking a long time to warm up or is overheating then you may want to take a look at your thermostatic radiator valve. There is a possibility that there is a problem with this car part and you can do a simple test on your own to determine if it needs to be replaced. Placing the thermostat in a pot of water and allowing it to reach the boiling point should cause the thermostat to move from the closed position to the opened position. Once it reaches the 180-200 degree mark and it fails to open then you know that the thermostat needs to be replaced.
Once this test has been done, you will be able to determine whether or not you need a new thermostat for your radiator. For engines that are overheating with a properly working thermostatic valve then you should check your coolant levels within the radiator or check for a leak in the hose going from the radiator to the engine. Often an overheating engine can be caused by the lack of coolant reaching the engine due to a leak.
Replacing a faulty radiator thermostat can be done with a few dollars and a few tools. Just make sure you pay attention to how your old thermostat came out and you will have a much simpler time putting in the new one. Replacing the thermostat on your own can save you a bit of money but if you are unsure how to do so or do not feel confident performing the repair then you should take your car to a mechanic to ensure you have proper installation of the part. Since the engine requires the coolant to function you should not drive the vehicle with a broken thermostatic radiator valve. To prevent permanent damage from being done to your engine, make sure you replace your thermostatic radiator valve as soon as possible.