Keeping Your Cool When You Have Thermostat Issues

Car Thermostat

The thermostat in your car is a critical component. It’s similar to the thermostat in your home; it keeps the temperature regulated, so it’s never too hot or too cold. Your motor needs a working thermostat even more than a house. It has an optimal temperature range and needs to run warm enough to operate efficiently, but not so hot that it causes extensive damage.

How does my thermostat work?

Basically, the thermostat is a valve between the engine and the radiator. It has a special wax that expands as it heats up. When you start your car, the wax is cold and keeps the valve closed, allowing your engine to get up to the proper operating temperature. As the coolant gets hotter, the wax expands, opening the thermostat. This allows coolant to flow through to the radiator to ensure the engine doesn’t overheat.

Your thermostat is constantly opening and closing to keep the engine operating at its most efficient temperature range.

Like everything on your Audi, BMW, Fiat, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes, MINI, Saab, Smart Car, Volkswagen, or Volvo, or other European vehicle, thermostats are subject to normal wear.

We don’t perform specific thermostat maintenance at EuroCar Service. By maintaining your cooling system with regular coolant/antifreeze flushes, though, we make sure the coolant has enough corrosion inhibitors to protect the thermostat and other vital system components. For some cars, or if the system has a lot of debris, we recommend replacing your thermostat when you do a coolant flush or exchange or replace hoses, but mostly we wait until it starts giving you trouble.

Some signs there are problems, include:

  1. Warning light—When this comes on, have your cooling system inspected right away.
  2. Cabin heater—The thermostat might be the culprit if you aren’t getting hot air when you turn on the heater.
  3. High temperature readings—An alarming symptom is seeing the temperature gauge jump into the red within the first 15 minutes of your vehicle engine running, often the first sign your thermostat is not functioning properly.
  4. Erratic temperature changes—Dramatic spikes and drops in temperature lead to poor engine performance. Bring your car in if you see these types of shifts.
  5. Coolant leaks—Seeing coolant on the ground under your vehicle can be caused when by the thermostat getting stuck in the closed position. The leak most commonly starts around the thermostat housing and can eventually cause other coolant hoses to leak.

The thermostat is a relatively inexpensive part that stands guard between you and catastrophic engine damage. When you run into thermostat trouble in Seattle, bring your car to the trusted pros at EuroCar Service. We have earned a reputation as the Emerald City’s most dependable, accurate, and honest European automobile service facility. Since 1981, we have provided cutting edge maintenance and repair and award-winning customer service. Call us at 206-527-8828 or schedule an appointment online today!