The thermostat in your car is responsible for regulating the temperature of your car’s coolant. It allows for your engine to start up quickly as well as protect it from overheating. The thermostat itself is a valve located between the engine and the radiator. It controls the amount of coolant that flows to the engine by opening and closing. When the thermostat is open, coolant that is getting too hot flows through the radiator to cool down. When the thermostat is closed, cool coolant is able to get warmed by the heat coming off the engine. Newer vehicles will have an electronic thermostat, which have additional benefits including better emissions control and fuel economy.
Signs of a failing thermostat
The thermostat can fail and produce different issues depending on if it gets stuck in the open or closed position. Outside of that, general issues with the thermostat can occur from rust, corrosion, or a leakage. Below are the issues that may be present when the thermostat is stuck in the open or closed position:
When the thermostat is stuck in the open position
- Temperature gauge produces a low temperature reading
- Heater fails
- Fuel economy drops
- Automatic transmission has issues shifting at high speeds
When the thermostat is stuck in the closed position
- Temperature gauge produces a high temperature reading
- Smoke coming from the hood
- Engine overheats
- Head gasket fails
- Temperature warning light illuminates
If you notice any of the above signs, get your thermostat inspected by a car care professional as soon as you can. A failing thermostat can cause permanent engine damage so be sure to resolve the issue as soon as possible. In most cases, the faulty thermostat will just be replaced with a new one – a cheap and easy procedure. Your technician will read and resolve any trouble codes that have been produced and may recommend service on your radiator and water pump as well if they show signs of wear.
The best way to get maintenance done on your thermostat is to book your appointment through CarAdvise. CarAdvise makes car care simple and guarantees that you’ll pay less than retail price on all car maintenance services.