Dear Tom and Ray:
I recently began driving my 2007 Dodge Caliber around with a "carstache" mustache on the grill. Don't ask me why, but I did. While driving with it on, I've noticed that the external temperature gauge reads particularly high, maybe around 20 degrees higher than the actual outside temperature. I have glanced at the engine temperature gauge, and it's completely fine. I figure the mustache isn't letting air run over the radiator sufficiently, but if the engine isn't overheating, I'm guessing it's not awful. Is this something to be worried about? Thanks.
RAY: Nah. I'd worry more about your ability to ever get a date again, Nathan. My brother wanted to put one of those big, pink carstaches on his car, and I told him it would be easier to just get a bumper sticker that says "Dork."
TOM: But I already have one of those! Actually, I disagree with my brother. These things are just playful, harmless fun. I like 'em. And they're a lot more family-friendly than, say, truck ... danglers. I'm with you, Nathan. Keep the carstache.
RAY: Actually, I think the pink ones indicate that you're part of a car-sharing service, in some areas. So don't use a pink one unless you want strangers to hop in when you stop at red lights.
TOM: What's happening is that your carstache is blocking the temperature sensor that reads the outside temperature. It sits right in front of the radiator on most cars.
RAY: That's what's causing you to get an incorrect reading of the outside temperature on the dashboard. But I doubt it's having any noticeable effect on airflow through the radiator at all. You can confirm that, if the engine temperature gauge is reading right where it's always been.
TOM: I mean, you're right to at least be concerned about whether you're blocking the radiator. In general, that's not a good idea. And maybe if you were sporting something thicker, like a Tom Selleck, you could possibly block enough air flow to make the engine run hotter than it should.
RAY: Yeah, so I'd recommend going with more of a John Waters.
TOM: Of even better, maybe just a soul patch that hangs down below the license plate. Have fun, Nathan.