A thermostat is a component of an engine that regulates the flow of coolant from a reservoir of coolant in the vehicle’s interior to an overheating engine. The thermostat is a small metal plate that is inserted into the combustion chamber of the engine. It senses changes in engine temperature (exhaust temperature) and directs the engine coolant flow in a controlled fashion. When the engine is cold, the thermostat will be open. When the engine is warm, the thermostat will be closed. When the thermostat is closed, the engine will not get enough coolant to properly function. The engine coolant pump will overheat, and the engine will have to be removed and serviced to cool the pump.

 

What does a car thermostat do?

Since the thermostat receives the cold or hot air from the air conditioning unit or heater at its base, its job is to allow heat from the engine to transfer to the cabin and the air conditioner. It measures the difference between the two and then changes the flow of coolant, which is supposed to deliver that heat to the cabin. In hot weather, the thermostat will not open completely. The hot air condenses in the heated pipes of the car, so when the air conditioner turns on, the fluid in the thermostat does not circulate through the engine. When that happens, the engine runs hotter and creates more heat in the cabin. This temperature rise causes the air conditioner to work harder and consumes more energy. Your vehicle will take longer to warm up because of all this added energy waste.

What are the symptoms of a bad thermostat?

Chronic not-running engine Having the heater running when the engine should not be running (likely due to the cold weather outside) Low starting Lots of heat loss through the engine (heat pumps not being able to keep up) Giant radiator and water heater bill These symptoms are very common and do not cause any real damage unless the thermostat is stuck open. When is the thermostat typically bad? It is not a bad thermostat if it is under 20º F. At that temperature, a thermostat is just doing its job of taking away the heat from your engine. In warmer temperatures, however, the thermostat is susceptible to problems if the sensor, which controls the temperature of the sensor pad, is broken or the adhesive on the sensor is weak.

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How to fix a bad thermostat in car

You may have found this helpful when reading the comments. Some people said to raise the thermostat and make sure it is slightly up as it is. The thermostat should be only slightly up as it will make the temperature seem higher but it’s the same. Some people said you should pop the hood and see if the thermostat is really stuck. This is actually not necessary. The thermostat is simply misplaced, and it will adjust itself if you simply keep your car running. It is important to keep your car running for a minimum of five to ten minutes, though. This allows the thermostat to warm up and fix itself. Other people said to pour some oil on the thermostat and that it will help it to move in the correct direction.

 

Conclusion

An almost universal rule of thumb that will work for most car repairs is that if it seems difficult, or it seems to be getting worse, it is probably a bad repair. It’s better to fix it now when you’re not going to be able to make it worse, than to wait and make it worse later. Now, let’s move on to other common car repairs and the really bad ones.

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