How to Replace a Thermostat in an Auto

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Not all vehicles have the same thermostat placement, and the degree of difficulty of changing a thermostat can vary greatly. Discover the importance of checking an engine's temperature before attempting to replace a thermostat with help from an ASE-certified master automobile technician in this free video on car thermostats.

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

You might notice sometimes that your temperature gauge is either higher or lower than normal. Or perhaps you don't have enough heat in your car when it is cold out. One of the possible culprits of this kind of a problem could be the thermostat. So today what we are going to do is going to go over kind of the typical procedure that is gone though in changing out an automobile's thermostat. Not all vehicles are the same, and the degree of difficulty in changing a thermostat does vary widely. The first step that we are going to take is we are actually going to check, and make sure that the engine is not too hot to do anything with. So I will kind of squeeze and feel the temperature of the upper radiator hose, and we will do this prior to removing the radiator cap. The reason that I am showing caution in doing this is basically the pressure in a cooling system holds back the coolant from boiling, and if you are not careful when you take that off it's entirely possible that you can be seriously burned when that would occur. The next step is going to be to loosen the radiator drain so we can drain out the coolant. Now that we have drained the coolant we will actually get at changing the thermostat itself. The first thing that we are going to do I have actually previously removed things out of the way of the thermostat housing. Trust me this type of a job varies widely depending on what type of vehicle it is. What we are going to start by loosening the hose clamp, and removing the upper radiator hose. Set that aside, and now I will see if I can remove the thermostat itself. And there is the old thermostat. Now that the gasket surfaces are cleaned we will actually start reinstalling the new thermostat, and put it in it's place. Be careful and make sure that you put the new thermostat in the same way the old thermostat came out. If you put one in upside down the likelihood is that the vehicle will overheat. The new gasket in this case comes with an adhesive backing so I will remove that, and then put the thermostat into place. Reinstall the thermostat housing into place, insert the fasteners, then we will reinstall the upper radiator hose onto the housing, and tighten the clamp.

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