How do i check a thermostat on a car

Symptoms of a bad thermostat
  1. How do i check my thermostat
  2. Thermostat: how it works, symptoms, problems, testing
  3. What’s So Important About Your Car Thermostat? Plenty.
  4. When to Replace Your Thermostat

There are two scenarios for failing thermostats:. Appearance : Seepage, drips or large coolant bleed marks on or around the mounting surface or on the housing.

How do i check my thermostat

Solution : In case of a recently installed new thermostat: carefully remove, check and re-install the thermostat. Strictly follow the torque specifications. When sealant is prescribed, clean the rims of the part and the mounting surface and apply new sealant evenly along the edge of the part.

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If the leakage is not the consequence of an improperly installed new thermostat, the thermostat must be replaced immediately. Cause : Contaminated coolant, non-compatible coolant or mixing coolants of different chemistries.

Thermostat: how it works, symptoms, problems, testing

Another possible cause may be a defective pressure cap causing air bubbles, accelerating the rust process. Solution : Replace the thermostat.

  • Symptoms of a bad thermostat.
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  • Thermostat: how it works, symptoms, problems, testing.

Inspect the pressure cap and replace if defective. Appearance : Deposits, sludge and scale build up on the inside, clogging the thermostat and hampering proper functioning of its individual components.

Appearance : Map-controlled thermostats are a growing trend in OE. They have an electric heating resistor integrated into their wax element. Electrical heating of the wax element is triggered when the engine is exposed to specific load conditions and the engine management system anticipates an increase in waste heat.

What’s So Important About Your Car Thermostat? Plenty.

Solution : Check the plug for damage or corrosion and replace if defective. Before you remove the thermostat, you will need to drain the radiator partially down, so the coolant level in the radiator is below where the top hose connects to the radiator. You can save and reuse this coolant. Be sure the car engine and coolant is not hot when you drain the coolant.

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You may also disconnect the housing without first draining the coolant from the radiator, but you will need to be prepared to either absorb or catch the coolant, which is in the hose at the time, usually about 1 to 2 quarts. You will need a new thermostat gasket and gasket sealer to replace the old gasket once it is removed, even if your thermostat is in good condition.

When to Replace Your Thermostat

Disconnect the thermostat housing from the engine block, and you will find your thermostat sitting in the engine block. Remove the gasket and pull out the thermostat.

Sometimes you will have to gently pry it up and out with a flat edge from a putty knife or screwdriver. Also clean all the old gasket material from the mating surface of the thermostat housing and engine block for replacement later on. The mating surface must be smooth and clean.


A simple test to discover if the thermostat is opening or not is to heat up some water on the stove to a specific temperature of about degrees, using a thermometer to determine the temperature, and then place the thermostat into the water. If it is working properly, it will quickly open up. Sometimes, rust has accumulated on the thermostat and holds it shut.

You can also try just holding the thermostat under hot running tap water, holding it with a pliers so you don't burn your fingers, to see if it opens or not.

Addressing Auto Problems: How to Check for a Stuck Thermostat and Avoid Overheating

This is not as scientific, though. Another test would be to test-drive the car without a thermostat at all. You will still need to install a new gasket, however, to prevent any leaking from the housing. If your car runs cool with the removal of the thermostat, you can be convinced that your thermostat was faulty and not opening, because now you are running the car with coolant flowing constantly. In some very warm states, it's not uncommon for people to drive without a thermostat.

This would be a problem, however, in cold months, as this would affect your compartment heat. This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information.