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Drivers are only just realising what the temperature gauge in the car is actually for


People on Reddit queried about the reliability of temperature gauges that ping with a number when first setting off for a drive.

“Thermostats that are measuring the outside temperature of a car have to be wrong…” one Reddit user posted. “Is it just a wild guess?”

One user replied: “Your car probably measures the outside air by measuring the air flowing into the intake manifold.”

Another argued: “Most vehicles I’ve seen with temperature readouts have a separate sensor which is not part of the MAF/MAS/Intake.”

Somebody else added: “I had this argument with my step-father, who should have known better.”

But it’s not the reliability of the temperature gauge that people should be focusing on, according to an expert at Driver Knowledge Tests.

Darren Cottingham, a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, noted that a temperature gauge has two functions.

Firstly, the temperature gauge should be used to determine whether or not the roads might be icy.

Cottingham explained: “Anything less than three degrees Celcius means there’s a risk of ice on the roads.”

Secondly, any temperature reading above the mid-teens should act as a warning sign.

Cottingham elaborated: “Any temperature above mid-teens (Celcius) and you should not be leaving a pet in the car, as the car can heat up quickly and they could die from heat exhaustion.”

The RSPCA warned: “Many people think it’s ok to leave their dog in the car if they’re parked in the shade or the windows are open.

“But a car can become as hot as an oven, even when the weather doesn’t feel that warm.”

As the temperature dial has surpassed 22C in London in the past couple of days, the inside of the car “could reach an unbearable 47C within an hour”.

The RSPCA said leaving a pet in the car – even with the windows own – “is very dangerous and will cause your dog suffering and harm”.

Dog owners are advised to take dogs out at dawn or go for a late evening walk when the weather is balmy.

“Whilst your dog may look disappointed that you’re leaving them at home for a few hours while you go out – it really is in their best interest on a hot day,” the RSPCA noted.

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