How to Change Your Car's Thermostat

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Make sure that a car is completely cooled down before attempting to change the thermostat. Drain radiator coolant when changing a car's thermostat 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 Brintzenhafe. I'm a certified master mechanic out of Reading Pennsylvania. Today we're going to talk about how to change a thermostat. We've got this two thousand four Jeep Grand Cherokee and I'm going to walk you through it real quick. Real simple, the first thing you want to make sure is the engine is completely cooled down. The last thing you want to do is end up burning yourself, that makes for a really bad day. After it's all cooled down, you shouldn't feel any heat on top of this radiator cap. This is nice and cool, go ahead and take that off. Set that aside and make sure you put it some where you're not going to lose it. You have to get underneath it and find your radiator drain, drain plug. Go ahead and loosen that up and drain that in to a nice small container. Preferably this would be real nice so you don't get it all over the floor and your wife would beat you over the head with a broom when you're done. But slide that underneath, go ahead and drain it out. I'm not going to do that because unfortunately there's nothing wrong with this thermostat but I'll walk you through it. Drain your coolant all the way out, and you come back up here again, make sure it's nice and cool. You don't want to burn your hands. There's three bolts on top of this radiator, this thermostat housing. Go ahead and take them out real slow. You'll have to remove this radiator hose. It's got two clamps on it, one here, one on the inside. Go ahead and move them off, pull your hose off. You got this hose here going back to your heater core. You want to take that off. Real simple, you just need a small amount of tools, nothing fancy about it. Once you get the thermostat housing off, you're going to have a little gasket behind it about this size. This is actually the correct one for the vehicle. And here's your thermostat. They don't go bad too often, when they do they'll reek havoc on you. So you get that off. Get it all cleaned off. Make sure you got the gasket off of it, every thing's all nice and clean. You don't really need any RTV gasket or any kind of sealant for these. This gasket is just fine the way it is. Go ahead and set your thermostat back up inside your head, your housing there, put this in here. This gasket here will go right in front of it and seal it right off. And your housing goes in front of that. Put your two bolts back in your housing, put your hoses back up. Once you get that all sealed up, make sure you close the drain on the radiator, fill the radiator back up, start your engine, make sure you don't have any leaks. They get up to a temperature about a hundred and ninety five degrees. Make sure you're radiator's still full. You might have to top it off a little bit. Once you don't have any more air bubbles coming up in out of the radiator, put your cap back on. You're good to go.

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