Your car’s thermostat has the important responsibility of releasing coolant to the radiator when it reaches the rated coolant temperature. This ensures that your engine doesn’t get too hot and there’s no thermal shock to the engine. When it’s not functioning properly, you’re running the risk of an overheated engine, or in some cases, a thermostat can stick open and won’t let the engine reach the proper operating temperature. Luckily, a replacement car thermostat is a relatively inexpensive repair.

Signs of a Bad Car Thermostat, Northwest Auto Center of Houston

Signs of a Bad Car Thermostat

Unusual Temperature Gauge Readings

When you’re starting up your car in the mornings, it should read as cold. As the engine has the chance to heat up, the gauge should move to the right to indicate the engine is reaching a normal running temperature. If the readings seem erratic, this could be a sign that your car thermostat is having issues.

If you notice the gauge erratically moving from one end to another, this can be a sign of coolant that’s being released at incorrect intervals. When your thermostat is malfunctioning, your engine will either overheat if stuck closed or if the thermostat is stuck open, it won’t allow the engine to come up to operating temperature. Both of the aforementioned are not good for your engine and it should be repaired quickly.

Incorrect Temperature of Airflow

Your vehicle’s thermostat can also affect the temperature of the air blowing through the vents inside of the car. If you have it cranked too cool and it’s blowing out warm air, you’ll want to head to a trusted mechanic and have them look at it and get it professionally diagnosed.

Coolant Pooling Under the Vehicle

If your thermostat housing reaches the point that it’s leaking so significantly that the coolant is pooling on the ground below the car, this is a serious concern. The cooling system may fail to circulate coolant through the engine, which can cause it to overheat.

For those not familiar with vehicles, you should never check the coolant while the engine is hot. Wait until the engine has had time to cool down before popping the hood and checking the liquid.

Overheated Engine

The final and most serious sign of a faulty car thermostat is an engine that continuously overheats. This is a clear indication that the cooling system isn’t functioning properly, which generally leads back to an issue with the thermostat. This could also mean the head gasket/s are blown and the engine may have cracked head/s as well. If the aforementioned is a reality, it means there’s exhaust gases entering into your cooling system and it needs to be repaired immediately.

You’ll want to bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic ASAP if this begins happening, as engine replacements are costly and may put you in the market for a new car.

Worried That You Have a Bad Car Thermostat? Schedule an Appointment Today!

If you’ve started to notice signs of leaking coolant and have concerns about an overheated engine, bring your vehicle in for an inspection. We at Northwest Auto Center of Houston, can diagnose the issue, talk you through the repair process, and have you back on the road in no time.

Feel free to give us a call at (281) 894-8880. We are always here to help you in any way we can.