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Hi Jacob - generally the car electrics operate at 12 volts but the temp sensor circuit work at around 10 volts via a regulator which is usually fitted to the dash readout panel. This is done to smooth out the voltage changes which can range from 11 to 14 volts. On some cars the regulator also feeds the fuel guage system.
Currently in madnoel10's garage:
Honda Civic 1.4l