Understanding Your Car’s Thermostat


While there are many reasons your vehicle’s engine temperature may fluctuate, sometimes you may only need a simple thermostat replacement Hampton Va to solve the problem. What exactly is a vehicle thermostat and how does it work? This simple guide can help you understand this small but significant part under the hood of your car.

What Does a Vehicle Thermostat Do?

This small auto part is positioned between the radiator and the engine to control coolant flow and regulate engine temperature. Once the engine reaches a certain temperature, a small valve on the thermostat opens to allow hot coolant to flow from engine to radiator and cold coolant to travel form radiator to engine. This prevents the engine from overheating and protects it from damage.

What Happens When It Fails?

If your car’s thermostat stops working and the valve is stuck open, coolant will continue to flow to the engine, even when it’s not needed. This will present lower than normal temperature readings on your dashboard display and causes your car to produce more emissions while reducing efficiency. This can take its toll on your engine over time.

If the valve is stuck closed, coolant can’t reach your engine, causing it to overheat. You will notice a steady climb on your dashboard gauge and may even see smoke or steam coming from under the hood. This can cause irreparable damage to your engine and other systems and can be dangerous for everyone in the car. If your car starts to overheat, pull over immediately and turn the vehicle off.

How Can You Check Your Car’s Thermostat?

Refer to your vehicle service manual to locate the thermostat and remove the radiator cap so you can observe coolant flow. Turn on the car and watch closely. If the liquid starts to flow before the engine is hot or never flows at all, you may have a faulty thermostat.

If you’re having trouble with fluctuating vehicle temperatures, your thermostat may be to blame. When in doubt, refer to a local mechanic for an accurate test and diagnosis.

Posted November 26, 2020 by Car Blog in category General