How to Know When to Replace a Fan Thermostat

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A car's thermostat either controls the flow of coolant through the engine or turns on an electric fan. Check on the side of the radiator for sensor that is close to the thermostat housing with help from an auto mechanic in this free video on car repair and diagnostics.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Repair & Diagnostics
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name's Tom Brintzenhofe, a certified master mechanic from Reading, Pennsylvania. Today we're going to talk about how to know when you replace a fan thermostat. Just for clarity, there is no fan thermostat. There's either a thermostat that controls the flow of coolant through the engine, or there's a thermostat that will....I mean, a coolant sensor that will turn on an electric fan. But no fan thermostat. If you need to replace your thermostat, it's usually in the thermostat...right behind the thermostat housing. A couple of bolts, two or three hoses, not real hard to change. As your...if you have an electric fan, it's computer controlled. It works off of a sensor, usually close to the thermostat housing, or it's usually on the side of the radiator. You'll have to check a repair manual to see where the location is. A competent parts store, locally, will be able to tell you what it looks like, show it to you. They may even tell you where it it. This particular vehicle, the fan thermostat....the fan thermostat!..the fan sensor, the temperature sensor, is right here in the thermostat housing. We'll get a shot of it here in a second. Real easy to change. You need a three quarter socket and a ratchet extension. Disconnect your connector on it, and pull it right out. You might want to relieve the pressure in your radiator cap right here first, make sure the engine is not hot before you start this process. Pull it out. Take your new one, screw it right back in, put your connector back on. Fill it back up with coolant. Run it to about a hundred and ninety five degrees. About two hundred and ten degrees, if it's an electric fan, it will turn on. Under that, it won't turn on til that point, but just make sure that you keep your hands away from the fan. You don't want to sit in there and try and turn it, thinking it doesn't work, 'cause it....it turns on on it's own. And, that can cause a bad day. The other fans you have, you have a clutch fan that's....that's also a spring. When it heats up...it...it...expands, locks that fan in and starts turning it. So again, don't put your....if you have a clutch fan don't put your hands in there 'cause you don't know when it's going to start turning. It will free spin for awhile, til it gets up to temperature and it locks, and then...and then it'll start working. But other than that, it's real simple. You have either/or, you have a manual fan or an electric fan. Electric fan, it has a temperature sensor. It works electronically through the computer. The thermostat is in this housing, real simple to change.

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