Eli5: How does a thermometer on a car work?


I can’t think of a location within the bodywork of a car that would provide accurate data considering wind-chill when it’s moving, excessive heat from either the engine, or stationary in the sun.

In: 242

Generally, its located at the front, near the bottom. It can be influenced by the hear radiated from the road itself, so they are not super accurate and can run a few degrees higher than the actual temp

-Depends on the make, model and age. E46 BMW’s (1999-2005/6) get that info from the MAF (mass air flow) sensor that tells the ECU how much air, and what temperature it is, is going into the engine-

Disregard above, i am a dumbass

To be clear, windchill only factors in when something is warmer than the surrounding air, such as a human. Because a thermometer wants to end up at the surrounding air’s temperature, windchill enables the thermometer be more accurate.

So chances are that they’ll stick it wherever it gets consistent access to moving fresh air, so usually it’s in the front bumper before anything that heats the air up.

I’ve never seen an ambient car thermometer that is accurate. Here in Florida it gets hot, but usually never over 100. Yet most vehicles will say it’s over 100.

Wind just means something will reach the temperature of the air more quickly. One of the better places for it would be in front of the radiator, inside the grill.

The reason air movement helps people cool off even when the air is hotter than us is because we sweat.