How to Change the Thermostat in a 2001 Kia Rio

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My Kia Rio may not be the prettiest car on the road, but it's inexpensive to maintain and its 30 mpg on the highway keeps extra change in my pocket. That extra change came in handy the other day when my Rio overheated due to a stuck thermostat. A quick trip to the parts store for a new thermostat and gasket and an afternoon of work later, and my 2001 Rio was back on the road.

Removing and Installing Thermostat and Gasket

  • On my 2001 Kia Rio, the drain cock is on the bottom, driver side of the radiator. I found my car's thermostat housing by following the upper radiator hose from toward the engine; the metal component connecting the hose to the engine is the thermostat housing. When I reinstalled the thermostat, I positioned the jiggle valve -- the loose-fitting valve on the thermostat -- in the 12 o'clock position. I torqued the thermostat housing bolts to between 14 and 19 foot-pounds. I finished everything up by refilling my Rio's radiator to the base of the filler neck with 50-50 premixed, ethylene glycol-base -- green -- coolant. After refilling it, I burped the cooling system by idling the car with the radiator cap off and topping off the radiator each time the coolant level dropped. Once the level was steady, I installed the radiator cap, allowed the engine to cool and rechecked the coolant level in the radiator and the radiator reservoir -- I needed to top off the radiator and fill the reservoir to the "Max" line after the engine cooled down.

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