When does a thermostat in the car go bad?


If you car engine is running hot and you are watching that temperature gauge climb higher and higher, especially while sitting in traffic, it's possible the thermostat has went bad. They just wear out over time.

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car engine

The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel (normally a fossil fuel) occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine (ICE) the expansion of the high-temperature and high-pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine. The force is applied typically to pistons, turbine blades, or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, transforming chemical energy into useful mechanical energy. The first commercially successful internal combustion engine was created by Étienne Lenoir.

The term internal combustion engine usually refers to an engine in which combustion is intermittent, such as the more familiar four-stroke and two-stroke piston engines, along with variants, such as the six-stroke piston engine and the Wankel rotary engine. A second class of internal combustion engines use continuous combustion: gas turbines, jet engines and most rocket engines, each of which are internal combustion engines on the same principle as previously described.

Electrical engineering

Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. This field first became an identifiable occupation in the latter half of the 19th century after commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electric power distribution and use. It now covers a wide range of subfields including electronics, digital computers, power engineering, telecommunications, control systems, RF engineering, and signal processing.

Electrical engineering may include electronic engineering. Where a distinction is made, usually outside of the United States, electrical engineering is considered to deal with the problems associated with systems such as electric power transmission and electrical machines, whereas electronic engineering deals with the study of electronic systems including computers, communication systems, integrated circuits, and radar.

Mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of engineering, physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.

The engineering field requires an understanding of core concepts including mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics, materials science, structural analysis, and electricity. Mechanical engineers use these core principles along with tools like computer-aided engineering, and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing plants, industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling systems, transport systems, aircraft, watercraft, robotics, medical devices, weapons, and others.


The wax thermostatic element was invented in 1936 by Sergius Vernet (1899-1968). The principal application of the wax element technology is for the production of automotive thermostats. The first applications of this technology in the plumbing and heating industries were in Sweden (1970) and in Switzerland (1971).

Wax thermostatic elements permit the transforming of thermal energy into mechanical energy. Their working principle is based on the large increase in the thermal expansion of waxes when they pass from the solid to the liquid state. The range of application includes but is not limited to the automotive industry, military and civil aviation, domestic heating (e.g. thermostatic radiator valves), plumbing, industrial, fire, and agriculture.

Temperature control

Temperature control is a process in which change of temperature of a space (and objects collectively there within) is measured or otherwise detected, and the passage of heat energy into or out of the space is adjusted to achieve a desired average temperature.

A home thermostat is an example of a closed control loop: It constantly assesses the current room temperature and controls a heater and/or air conditioner to increase or decrease the temperature according to user-defined setting(s). A simple (low-cost, cheap) thermostat merely switches the heater or air conditioner either on or off, and temporary overshoot and undershoot of the desired average temperature must be expected. A more expensive thermostat varies the amount of heat or cooling provided by the heater or cooler, depending on the difference between the required temperature (the "setpoint") and the actual temperature. This minimizes over/undershoot. This method is called Proportional control. Further enhancements using the accumulated error signal (Intergral) and the rate at which the error is changing (Derivative) are used to form more complex PID Controllers which is the form usually seen in industry.

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