Car (South Africa) - - TECH -

Is there any rea­son other than cost cut­ting that has re­sulted in ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers not fit­ting en­ginecoolant-tem­per­a­ture gauges to­day? In my opin­ion, this me­ter is the most im­por­tant mea­sure­ment on a ve­hi­cle’s en­gine. As for my­self, I would gladly pay ex­tra for a fac­tory-fit­ted wa­ter-tem­per­a­ture gauge.

My wife wanted a Chevro­let Sonic, which is one of the ve­hi­cles with­out such a gauge. I bought the car from a rep­utable pre-owned dealer and was told that the en­gine had over­heated just be­low 60 000 km and, con­se­quently, a re­man­u­fac­tured en­gine was fit­ted by Wil­liams Hunt. After two years of own­er­ship, I de­cided to fit a coolant-tem­per­a­ture gauge as I want to mon­i­tor the en­gine tem­per­a­ture. found in older ve­hi­cles was un­fil­tered, re­sult­ing in a fluc­tu­at­ing nee­dle de­pend­ing on the load on the en­gine. This re­sulted in ner­vous driv­ers, as the nee­dle swung close to the red sec­tion during hard driv­ing and then to the cool sec­tion during coast­ing. Man­u­fac­tur­ers now build a hys­tere­sis into the read­ing where the gauge shows 90 °C (gen­eral coolant op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture of an en­gine) for tem­per­a­tures be­tween 85 and 95 °C.

Another is­sue is that many gauges read only coolant tem­per­a­ture. This means that, when the coolant is lost ow­ing to a leak in the sys­tem, the sen­sor may not be in the coolant any more, but sus­pended in air. The re­sult is that the read­ing may drop while the en­gine is ac­tu­ally overheating. Only a keen mo­torist will note the sud­den drop in en­gine tem­per­a­ture during a

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