Much like a thermostat that controls the temperature in your home, a car thermostat helps control the temperature of your car’s engine. Without it, your car may not heat up properly or it will overheat. It’s an inexpensive part, but if it gets worse, it can cause expensive problems for your car.
A car thermostat is a spring-loaded valve located between the engine and the radiator. It shuts off when the engine is cold, which allows the car to warm up faster. Once the vehicle reaches operating temperature, the thermostat opens and allows coolant to circulate through the radiator to cool.
When the thermostat fails, it will remain open or closed. If it remains open, your engine may not reach its normal operating temperature preventing it from running efficiently. If the thermostat remains closed, the engine temperature will rise.
How do I know if my car needs a thermostat?
Once the thermostat has broken, there are some clear signs that it needs to be replaced:
- The engine overheats, or the temperature gauge shows a high reading.
- The vehicle never overheats, or the temperature gauge changes intermittently.
- Coolant leaking around the thermostat housing or under the vehicle.
On newer cars, the check engine light may come on if the vehicle has not reached operating temperature. Likewise, the check engine light can come on when the temperature gets too hot.
If the engine is running hot, one way to test for bad heat is to put your hand on the upper coolant hose. If it’s cold, but the engine is hot, the thermostat will likely need to be changed.
How much does it cost to replace a thermostat?
according to repair palThe average thermostat replacement cost is between $490 and $525. It can also be more or less depending on the make and model of the car. This cost reflects not only the part, but also the work of the mechanic and the cost of coolant and other parts that need to be replaced. Keep in mind that the thermostat is more easily accessible in some cars than others, and the same goes for how easy it is to properly drain and refill the cooling system.
However, replacing the thermostat yourself can cost you as little as $50, which covers the cost of the thermostat and coolant.