4 FAQs About Thermostat Replacement
Here are quick answers to four questions about thermostats and their replacement:
1. What Is A Thermostat?
The thermostat helps keep your engine running at the right temperature. It’s an important part of your vehicle’s cooling or heating system or HVAC system, helping regulate the temperature setting of the vehicle.
When you start your car, the thermostat valve is closed, preventing the coolant flow from reaching the radiator and cooling the engine. It traps the engine heat, helping it quickly heat up to the right temperature. This, in turn, promotes efficient fuel use and reduces engine deposits.
When the engine hits a certain temperature (usually around 195°F), the valve opens, allowing the radiator to cool the liquid coolant. This keeps the engine at an optimal temperature (between 195°F to 225°F), preventing overheating.
2. What Are The Different Types of Thermostats?
Vehicle thermostats may be either mechanical or digital. Here are the different types available for your car:
- Conventional wax thermostats
- Electrically heated wax thermostats
- Electrically actuated thermostats
3. When Should I Replace The Thermostat?
A car thermostat does eventually wear down and fail. So, most mechanics recommend a thermostat replacement after 10 years.
As a safety measure, you could replace your existing thermostat when your vehicle’s cooling system components are serviced. This can include a radiator hose replacement, water heater installation, or air conditioner repair (AC repair).
4. How Do I Replace A Thermostat?
Thermostat replacement requires a fair bit of knowledge and experience to ensure that the components and the cooling system work efficiently. So, it’s best to leave the replacement to a professional mechanic rather than attempt a DIY repair.
Here’s a general guideline on how a mechanic would perform a thermostat replacement:
- Ensure the vehicle has cooled down to prevent burns.
- Drain the engine coolant (antifreeze) through the radiator cap. Drain enough to bring the coolant level below the thermostat housing.
- Find the thermostat by locating the radiator hose.
- Remove the radiator hose with the hose clamp and take apart the thermostat housing and gasket. Ensure the new thermostat and gasket are similar to that of the old thermostat.
- Test the new thermostat by placing it in a bucket of boiling water.
- Remove the old thermostat and install the new thermostat.
- Clean and reassemble the radiator hose, hose clamp, and thermostat housing. Replace the hose if it’s leaking or worn out.
- Tighten the radiator cap and add the coolant back or replace it if it’s old. Check for coolant leaks.
- Check if the temperature gauge is reading fine. If so, the car’s safe to be back on the road.