What is a Thermostatic Valve in Car Engine?
A reliable car with proper maintenance can serve you for numerous years. However, to ensure its longevity, it is crucial for car owners to understand the functions of some key components in their vehicles and consistently perform maintenance functions. One such component is thermostatic valves.
Delve into the functions of thermostatic valves, the different types of valves in engines, and other relevant details.
What is a Thermostatic Valve?
A thermostat is a device that maintains a crucial role in maintaining the engine’s operating temperature. It is located within the engine's cooling system, generally between the engine and the radiator.
This device is designed to determine the correct timing for valve opening and closing accurately. As a result, it ensures that the internal combustion engines work within the desired temperature range.
How does a Thermostatic Valve Work?
Take a look at the working of thermostatic valves:
- In simple terms, a thermostat valve works on a temperature-sensing mechanism. When the engine is cool, the thermostat valve remains closed, restricting the coolant flow to the radiator.
- The valve opens as the engine starts running and heats up during operation. This allows the flow of coolant to the system, which helps lower the overall temperature of the engine. The warm coolant, in turn, moves to the radiator for cooling.
- This is a continuous process wherein the thermostat continually monitors the coolant temperature and adjusts the opening and closing of the valve accordingly.
What are the Different Types of Thermostatic Valves?
Thermostatic valves can be categorised into two main types based on their temperature-sensing mechanism and control.
- Wax-based Thermostatic Valves: These valves use a wax-filled cartridge as their temperature-sensing element. The wax element inside the cartridge contracts or expands along with temperature changes.
- Liquid-based Thermostatic Valves: A more recent development than wax-based, they use a liquid-filled sensing element that provides quicker adjustment per temperature range. These valves are commonly used in industrial and commercial applications such as thermal management systems.
What are the Functions of Thermostatic Valves?
Here are some of the major functions of the thermostatic valve.
- The primary function of the thermostat valve is to ensure that the engine operates within the optimal temperature range for the best performance.
- Due to its ability to regulate coolant flow, it plays a vital role in protecting the engine against overheating.
- It effectively maintains efficiency in fuel combustion by ensuring the engine operates at the desired temperature.
- The thermostatic valve ensures the engine warms up efficiently at a cold start by keeping warm coolant inside the engine instead of moving it to the radiator.
What is the Most Common Problem of Thermostatic Valves?
The common pressing issue with thermostatic valves is being stuck in either closed or open positions. This can seriously affect the engine’s temperature control, leading the engine to become either too cold or too hot. As a result, the car’s performance can be severely affected.
How to Check for a Stuck Thermostatic Valve?
By following the steps below, you can assess the conditions of the valve.
- The first step is to separate the negative battery cable to begin the testing cable. Next, drain some coolant from the engine system to minimise the risk of coolant spills during the testing process.
- As a next step, the upper radiator hose needs to be detached. It allows taking out the thermostat housing, which protects the thermostat. While removing it, take note of the temperature marked on the thermostat.
- Place a thermometer in a pot of cold water to test the thermostat. Ensure it is fully immersed in water, then place the pot on a stove. Heat the water gradually, and be mindful of the thermometer.
- As the temperature clocks the previously noted number, the thermostat will open, indicating that it is in proper working condition.
Thus, a thermostatic valve is crucial to a car’s cooling system. Regular monitoring and maintenance are essential for the car's smooth operation, ensuring its longevity.