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A thermostat is part of the cooling system that regulates the temperature of the coolant in the engine. The thermostat is a metal valve that has a temperature sensor built in. It can either be open or closed. When the thermostat is closed, it keeps the coolant in the engine. When the engine gets to a predetermined temperature, the thermostat opens allowing coolant to circulate. The circulation of coolant prevents the engine from overheating. If the thermostat fails to open, the car will overheat. If the thermostat fails to close, the engine may never reach the optimal temperature (~220F). The thermostat opens and closes many times when the car engine is running. It is the most common component in the cooling system to fail, causing the car to overheat.
Have the thermostat replaced anytime you have major work done on the coolant system.
A vehicle’s engine gets extremely hot, and in order to avoid overheating, it needs to be properly cooled. The engine is cooled by a viscous liquid called coolant. The coolant is circulated around the engine, where it absorbs heat, which allows the engine to remain at a safe temperature. A fan then lowers the temperature of the coolant, which allows it to run back through the engine once more. The thermostat is responsible for determining when the coolant needs to enter the engine. The thermostat determines the temperature of the engine, and then acts as a valve that allows coolant in, or keeps coolant out. When the engine is too cold, the thermostat keeps coolant out; when the engine is too hot, it lets coolant in.
When the thermostat stops working, it will either get stuck open or closed. If the thermostat is stuck open, the coolant will constantly flow through the engine, absorbing too much heat, and the engine will never reach optimal running temperature. If the thermostat is stuck closed, the coolant will never circulate through the engine, and your engine will quickly overheat, which can cause severe damage.