A faulty car thermostat is bad news. Without a properly functioning thermostat, your engine cannot maintain the optimum temperature: a cause of much misery. But how do you recognize problems with the thermostat? In this article, you can read all about the symptoms of a broken car thermostat.

We also tell you what the consequences are of this problem and what it costs to have a broken car thermostat repaired. However, we will start with the operation and function of the part.

A car's thermostat, like the thermostat in your home, is responsible for properly controlling the temperature of the engine. It is very important that the temperature of the engine of your car remains within certain values ​​(approximately between 90 ° C to 105 ° C). The pipes are connected to the water pump and radiator on the other side. The radiator cools the liquid with cold air and the water pump ensures that the liquid can continue to flow.

The temperature of the motor can vary greatly. The outside temperature, the speed at which you drive and how heavily the engine is loaded, among other things, means that that temperature can fluctuate considerably. This means that tailor-made cooling is also required depending on the temperature of the engine.

How the car thermostat works

To make all this happen properly, there is a thermostat in the cooling system. This is a valve in the pipes that can be opened and closed. When the temperature of the engine is below 90 ° C, for example when warming up, the valve remains closed, so that the coolant does not flow through the radiator and therefore does not cool down. This makes the engine warmer faster. Does the engine temperature reach 105 ° C? Then the valve opens, the coolant flows past the radiator and cools down. This also cools the engine, keeping it running smoothly and safely. When the temperature then drops, the valve closes partially again, so that the engine stays at the right temperature.

Faulty car thermostat

Just like any car part, a car's thermostat will eventually break down. Usually, wear and tear, or material fatigue is the culprit. The part is contained in a plastic housing with plastic bars that can break. The rubber casings can also tear, causing leaks. Rust is also a possibility. These causes can cause the thermostat to stop working and stop opening and closing. There are two options: either the thermostat remains open, or it is always closed. Neither of these is good and both can lead to big problems.

As a result of the defect, the temperature of the motor can no longer be properly controlled. Logically, two possible problems arise: the engine is running too hot or too cold. An engine that is too hot will lead to irreparable damage, but an engine that is running too cold is anything but ideal.

Consequences of a thermostat that is too open

When the thermostat can no longer close properly, the temperature of the coolant remains too low. As a result, the engine will also be too cool and will never warm up properly, unless you drive slowly in the middle of summer. The problem with an engine running too cold is that this will cause the computer to inject a richer fuel mixture.

You will then use more fuel. As a result, your overall fuel consumption will go up.

Consequences of a thermostat that is too closed

A thermostat stuck in the closed position is deadly to your engine. After all, the engine cooling will no longer work, causing your engine to overheat. The meter on your dashboard will then turn red. So go to the garage as soon as possible or sell your car.

When the engine temperature gets a little too high, you will lose power and all parts will wear out faster. Due to the high temperature, the metal of the cylinders and the engine block itself will deform, fuel will spontaneously ignite, the head gasket will burst and eventually you will come to a stop with a blown up engine.

Do you think your car's thermostat is broken? Then there are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • - Engine temperature too high
  • - Engine temperature too low
  • - Burning engine trouble light
  • - Less engine power and noise
  • - Higher fuel consumption
  • - Leaking coolant
  • - Car heating not working properly

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can indicate other problems as well.

A thermostat that is broken will have to be replaced. Do you recognize the above symptoms? Then it is smart to have this checked as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Replacing the thermostat is a fairly easy job.

Before the mechanic starts, he will investigate whether it is indeed this part that has broken. For this, he looks at the symptoms and under the hood. He loosens the radiator cover and checks to see if the coolant flows into the radiator. If this is not the case, the thermostat is stuck in the closed position. Does the coolant flow directly into the radiator? Then it is stuck in the open position. In both cases, it will be removed and replaced by a new one.

As mentioned, replacing the thermostat is a relatively simple job. Count on a maximum of two to three hours of work. The part itself is not very expensive. The new coolant costs about 30 euros. Of course, the costs depend on the car you have.

It becomes problematic and a lot more expensive when you have driven for a while with the faulty car thermostat. In the worst-case scenario, you need a new engine. In any case, in these extreme cases, it is always smart to consider selling your car rather than having it repaired.


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