Prepare Your Older Car For A Long Vacation Drive: Replace The Thermostat

The summer vacation season is rapidly approaching and it's getting time get the old car ready for some long drives. You should do some preventative maintenance work on your old car before you hit the open road or you could risk getting a breakdown hundreds of miles from home. One part that is known for failing over time and causing the car to overheat is a bad thermostat. The thermostat holds coolant in the engine block until it heats up. The heat causes the valve on the thermostat to open to allow the coolant to circulate through the radiator to cool down. If the valve doesn't open, the car will overheat. Even if you are not a full-fledged mechanic, you can still change the thermostat yourself. Here's how you can change the thermostat on your car.

Purchasing a New Thermostat

Thermostats might all seem to look alike, but there are subtle differences between different types. You need to purchase a thermostat that has a rated temperature to work with your car. A rated temperature is the temperature the coolant in the engine has to reach before the valve on the thermostat opens up so the coolant can circulate through the radiator to get cooled down. The best thing to do is to have the personnel at an auto parts store look up the type of thermostat you need for the make and model of the car you're driving instead of just grabbing one off the store shelf and buying it.

Replacing the Thermostat

Make sure the engine is cooled down or you could get burned with hot coolant when you try to remove the old thermostat. Open the hood to the car and look at the right side of the top of the radiator. There will be a thick hose running from the top of the radiator to the side of the engine block. This is in the intake hose for the radiator. The hose connects to the thermostat housing cover with a hose clamp. Loosen the hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver and pull it off the cover.

There are two bolts on both sides of the thermostat housing cover. Remove the bolts with wrench or ratchet socket and pull the cover off of the thermostat. The thermostat will now be exposed.

Pay special attention to how the thermostat is seated in the engine and then remove it. Place the new thermostat in the exact same position as the old one when you put it into the engine. Screw the housing cover back on and reconnect the radiator hose and the hose clamp. To learn more, contact a company like Branford Radiator Repair Service.