The Average Cost for Car Thermostat Replacement Is Between $477 and $512 Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs may include replacing radiator hoses or the engine coolant. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a more accurate estimate for your car thermostat replacement using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $477 to $512
Parts: $358 to $362
Labor: $119 to $150
Getting your car thermostat replaced at the mechanic’s shop should take 1 to 2 hours. There is not a recommended car thermostat replacement interval. It should simply be replaced when needed. Your vehicle’s thermostat helps regulate the engine’s temperature, so it’s important to ensure the thermostat is always healthy. Expect a higher repair bill if your vehicle is a luxury model.
Cost to DIY: $358 to $362
- Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate, depending on the vehicle
- Parts Needed:
If you want to save some money by taking on your own car thermostat replacement, you’ll find that this is a relatively simple repair that requires only some basic garage tools. The level of difficulty depends entirely on how your car is designed, where your thermostat is located, and how easy or difficult it is to reach. Additional tools may be required if additional components must be removed to reach the thermostat.
Keep in mind that your vehicle needs a working thermostat to keep its engine in healthy working order, so if you’re not confident in your ability to perform this repair, you should leave it up to the professionals. Always defer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to know the exact type of thermostat you need for the job.
Choosing to do this job yourself instead of using a dealership service center allows you to choose less expensive aftermarket parts. Generally, the older your model, the less expensive it will be to replace its thermostat, both in your DIY garage and at the mechanic’s shop.
Engines suffering from thermostats that are stuck closed should be handled carefully, as they can reach very high temperatures. Let your vehicle cool completely before you take on any DIY task.
What Is a Car Thermostat?
A car thermostat regulates your vehicle’s engine temperature. It is a valve that is controlled either mechanically or electronically, using a sensor that measures the temperature of the coolant. This sensor tells the thermostat when it should open or close to maintain the optimum engine temperature.
The thermostat remains closed when the engine is cold to block off coolant flow to the radiator. This allows the engine to warm up faster. When the engine’s temperature reaches a certain point, the thermostat opens to release coolant into the radiator, which helps cool the engine. This helps prevent your engine from overheating.
What Does a Car Thermostat Replacement Include?
Whether you’re taking your vehicle to a service center or mechanic’s shop, or doing the job yourself, you can expect this service to take an hour or two. If you’re not familiar with thermostats and how to replace them, keep a repair manual nearby to make sure you’re properly performing the necessary steps.
Car thermostat replacements are also often done during other maintenance tasks, such as getting your timing belt services or replacing a radiator hose. When you get your car’s thermostat replaced, a mechanic should also flush the radiator. This will add to the cost of the service, as your vehicle’s radiator fluid will also need to be refilled.
What Happens if You Don’t Replace Your Car Thermostat?
If you don’t replace your vehicle’s thermostat, you could potentially damage your vehicle’s engine or decrease your vehicle’s efficiency. These issues come in two categories: those that are caused by the thermostat being stuck open and those caused by the thermostat being stuck in the closed position. If the thermostat is stuck open, the engine will have trouble warming up to its optimum temperature. This causes it to run less efficiently and also disables your heater, which uses hot engine coolant to operate.
If the thermostat is stuck closed, your vehicle’s engine has a higher risk of damage from overheating. If you suspect that your car thermostat is staying closed, you should avoid driving your car until you’re certain. If you drive around with an overheating engine, you may end up with bigger and more costly problems, such as internal engine damage. The longer you wait to fix this issue, the greater the bill will probably be when you get around to repairing your vehicle.
How Often To Replace Your Car Thermostat
Though not normally listed in the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, like any part, thermostats will need to be replaced after some time. Replacing a thermostat is generally done as a preventative maintenance task along with other repairs and maintenance, such as a coolant change or water pump replacement. More extreme climates can cause a car thermostat to fail faster than it would in a more moderate climate. The type of vehicle you drive also factors in how often you’ll need to replace the thermostat.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace Your Car Thermostat
Keep an eye out for the symptoms below to know when it’s time to have your car’s thermostat replaced:
- Temperature gauge is higher or lower than it normally is
- Engine overheating due to closed thermostat
- Heater is blowing cold air due to the open thermostat
- Cabin air temperature fluctuations
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with a car thermostat replacement:
- Radiator fluid flush and replacement
- Radiator hose replacement
- Timing belt service
- Water pump replacement
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