Water Temperature Gauge
The water temperature gauge indicates the temperature of the water being circulated throughout the vehicle’s engine. The purpose of the gauge is to let the operator of the vehicle know if the engine is too hot to be operating safely. In an engine, water is channeled throughout various components by the water pump. The water temperature gauge indicates when a problem with the cooling system occurs whether it is a blown water hose, malfunctioning fan, or leaking radiator fluid. There are two types of water temperature gauges: mechanical and electric.
The mechanical temperature gauge is most likely installed on older cars and is not typically installed on today’s new vehicles. The mechanical gauge uses a bourdon tube which is connected to both the gauge and the engine coolant. The tube contains primarily alcohol, and as the engine heats up the alcohol evaporates or condenses causing the tube to expand and pull on the gauge which results in giving the temperature reading. This system is based on the amount of time it takes for the liquid to evaporate or condense; therefore it takes time to return to a neutral reading position once the vehicle is turned off.
The electric temperature gauge is installed in all late model vehicles,and contain either a needle or a digital interface which informs the driver of the water temperature. They also have a backlight for nighttime driving as well as have the ability to inform the driver if the temperature increases. The gauges needle or digital interface system, is connected to a flexible bimetallic strip which bends as the temperature rises. The bimetallic strip is the temperature sensitive piece of the gauge,and measures the coolant. As the engine heats up the strip bends,allowing the coolant to flow. When the strip bends the gauges face reads as hot and moves to the temperature of the water based on the bend. When the engine is cool the coolant does not flow as much, therefore the strip does not bend which and a low temperature reading is illustrated.
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