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Symptoms of a bad or broken thermostat

The thermostat is an important part of a car’s cooling system because it plays an important role in regulating the engine’s temperature. It controls the flow of coolant between the engine and the radiator. If the engine is cold, the thermostat remains closed to warm up the engine. As the engine warms up, the thermostat gradually opens to allow the coolant to reach the radiator. This is a relatively simple part, but also a wear-and-tear item that needs to be replaced periodically. Here are some symptoms to watch out for if you think your thermostat is failing.

Too hot (or too cold)

First, note that air-cooled cars are not equipped with a thermostat; at least not the one we are describing in this story. However, air-cooled engines are few and far between these days, so chances are this guide applies to your car. With that said, overheating is the most common symptom of a bad or broken thermostat. This happens because the thermostat can get stuck as it ages. If it gets stuck in the closed position, it won’t let the coolant reach the radiator and the engine will overheat. In turn, this can cause great and costly damage.

One of the lesser known symptoms of a bad thermostat is excessive cooling. As the name implies, that’s the opposite of overheating: the motor never reaches operating temperature. This happens when the thermostat is stuck open. Excessive cooling also causes its fair share of problems.

Watch your temperature gauge. If you don’t have one, watch for the various warning lights in the instrument cluster. It’s never a good idea to continue driving if your car is too hot, so stop the engine as soon as it’s safe if you notice (or smell) that the temperature is rising to dangerous levels. dangerous. If the engine is running hot only, try turning the heater on at full blast to dissipate excess heat. You’ll be hot and this won’t fix your thermostat in any way, but it can get you to your destination inexpensively. sled bill.

Most of the woes caused by overcooling are more permanent woes; that’s a problem that can shorten your engine’s life for example. While we don’t recommend driving a vehicle with an overheating problem for hundreds of miles, it’s usually not an issue that needs immediate attention.

Leakage of coolant

Another sign of a thermostat-related problem is a coolant leak. The thermostat itself does not leak; It does not contain coolant. Instead, the source of the leak is usually the gasket that prevents coolant from seeping out of the thermostat housing as it flows between the engine and the radiator. Like all gaskets, it dries out and becomes brittle with age and is no longer functional. Keep in mind that coolant can leak from dozens of components. If you detect coolant underneath your car, don’t automatically assume it’s coming from the thermostat housing. Look around the housing for signs of leaks, such as coolant drops, drips and deposits. If you don’t see anything unusual then the leak is most likely coming from another part.

How to change or check the thermostat

It’s not difficult to inspect (and if necessary, change) a thermostat, but there are some important precautions to take. First, never crack a car’s cooling system if the engine is hot; It’s a good way to stay scar-free for life. Second, as mentioned above, the case is sealed by a gasket, which we strongly recommend not to reuse – it may not even come apart into one piece. Order the correct gasket (and check if it needs sealant), wait for the engine to cool, keep the cleaning cloth ready and this should take no more than a few minutes of your time.

On most cars, the thermostat is located near the top of the engine. Not always: if you drive one Subaru, you may need to get under your car to access. After placing the pan underneath where you’ll be working, remove the hose that goes to the thermostat housing, loosen the bolts that secure the top of the box, remove it (and wipe away any coolant with a rag). which drips), and you’ll see the thermostat. Remove it and careful scrape off any remaining residue from the gasket. If you know that the thermostat is bad, pop the new one back in (make sure it’s in the right direction), install the new gasket, tighten the bolts, reinstall the hose and you’re good to go. If you’re not sure, go to the kitchen.

If you know how to make pasta, you’ll know how to test the thermostat – just don’t add salt. The main difference is, when you cook fettuccine, you add the pasta after the water starts to boil. When you’re trying out a thermostat, you’ll want to drop it in a pan of cold water and then bring it to a boil. We assume that your thermostat is cold and therefore in the closed position; if it’s cold and open, you’ve found your problem. Put the fish in a pan full of water, wait for it to boil, then use a ladle to remove the fish. It must be in the open position; otherwise, it is stuck closed. Wash the pan thoroughly after checking the thermostat, if not, your next time arabbiata The sauce will taste a little funny.

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