Radiator Thermostat Valves

During the life of most cars, there is no reason to really think about your radiator temperature. We might wait for the thermometer to go up so that we can turn on the heat, but that’s about it. It stays at the same value whenever you’re driving, and problems with radiator temperatures are rare enough that the thermostat is never actually used. But people who have been alerted by the thermostat know that it can help you save the entire engine. If your radiator temperature is too high, it can cause damage to your entire engine structure, and if it’s not caught, it can destroy your car before you have a chance to act.

As cars age, problems with the radiator (and all car parts in general) become more common and likely. It’s at this point where it’s very important to be sure that the radiator thermostat is working correctly, especially if you’ve already had problems with your car’s radiator, the thermostat or the thermometer. It’s inconvenient and a hassle to replace any component of the system, and the radiator thermostat valves are no exception. But it’s an inconvenient hassle that can literally save your car, which makes it well worth the money and time you’ll have to put in (in most cases).

Car radiator thermostats work by using valves that detect heat levels. These valves open and close depending on the temperature and they are used to regulate the amount of coolant fluid that is run through the radiator. The valves close when the engine is too cold, preventing any coolant from being poured into the system. When the engine reaches a set temperature, these valves open and allow the coolant to flow through. These valves are usually made of wax, which loosens and expands when the radiator temperature reaches high enough levels.

The radiator thermostat valves don’t actually open completely at normal engine levels, they open about halfway to allow the correct amount of fluid through. The wax isn’t designed so much like a light switch as it is like a level. The wax melts more as the engine gets warmer, allowing the valve to adjust automatically to the temperature. This allows the car to not only heat the engine faster when it’s cold, but also to let more fluid through when it’s too hot, and cool the engine better in that circumstance. If the valve operated in a simple “open and shut” manner, it would not be able to cool the radiator as efficiently in the unfortunate circumstance of something going wrong.

If you have a problem with your radiator getting too hot, chances are that the problem lies in your coolant, and checking that will usually provide an easy answer to your problem. However, if that is not the case, you might want to check the radiator’s entire thermostat system – where a problem could be keeping the fluid from flowing correctly. After all, if the fluid can’t get into your radiator, you’re going to have problems. Now, it’s rare that there will be a problem with the valves specifically. The more likely scenario is that you’ll have to replace some other component of the thermostat –and if that’s the case, you may want to replace the thermostat valve along with it.

If there is a problem with the valve, it will usually be one of two things – it is stuck either open or closed. If it’s open, that usually won’t be a real problem unless you live in an area with very cold weather. This will make your engine slower to heat correctly, which can be an inconvenience to you in winter, but unless you live in temperatures far below freezing (below zero degrees Fahrenheit), it won’t actually be of any threat to your car. If the valves are stuck closed, that will be a very big problem for you. Cars need cooling fluid to function properly, and even at cold temperatures, you risk damaging your car.

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