How to Diagnose Car Thermostat Symptoms


Diagnosing your car's problems can save you time and money at the mechanic or in the parts store. The car's thermostat system is an important one, as it tells you how well the temperature is being regulated. This system should always be checked before the onset of severe weather months.

  • Understand the function of the car's thermostat. The thermostat helps regulate the air temperature in the engine. Different thermostats are used in different areas of the country and the world, the climate dictating which thermostat the manufacturer installs.

  • Know the two ways a thermostat can fail. These depend on the type of thermostat. It can fail open, which will cause the cab to not get any heat, or it can fail closed, which will cause the motor to overheat and possibly cause engine damage.

  • Notice which style of thermostat is available for your vehicle. A newer style of thermostat fails only in the open position, the idea being that it is better to lose heat to the cab than to allow the engine to overheat. However, this type of thermostat is not available for all vehicles.

  • Look up other symptoms. If you don't understand the heating or cooling problems your vehicle is having, look them up in your manufacturer's repair manual or at a local auto parts store. The other components of your car's heating and cooling system could be causing the thermostat to fail.

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