What Thermostat Do I Need for My Car

A thermostat is a crucial component of a car’s cooling system, as it regulates the flow of coolant through the engine to maintain a consistent operating temperature. Without a properly functioning thermostat, a car can experience overheating, which can cause severe engine damage or even a breakdown on the road.

There are various types of thermostats available for cars, each with its advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will discuss the factors to consider when choosing a thermostat, the different types of thermostats available, common issues with thermostats, and how to troubleshoot them, as well as how to replace a car thermostat.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Thermostat:

When choosing a thermostat for your car, there are several factors to consider, including:

  1. Engine type and size: Different engines have different temperature requirements, and it is essential to choose a thermostat that is compatible with your car’s engine type and size. Consult your car’s owner manual or a mechanic to determine the appropriate temperature range for your car’s engine.
  2. Operating temperature range: Thermostats are available in various temperature ranges, and it is essential to choose one that operates within the recommended temperature range for your car. If your car’s engine operates at a high temperature, a thermostat that opens at a higher temperature will be required.
  3. Compatibility with the car’s cooling system: Thermostats come in different shapes and sizes, and it is important to choose one that is compatible with your car’s cooling system. Ensure that the thermostat is a direct fit, and all the necessary connections are available.
  4. Brand and model reputation: Choose a thermostat from a reputable brand with a good track record of producing high-quality thermostats. Read reviews and ask for recommendations from your mechanic or other car enthusiasts.
  5. Budget considerations: Thermostats are available at different price points, and it is essential to choose one that fits your budget while still meeting your car’s requirements.

Types of Thermostats:

There are three main types of thermostats available for cars:

  • Mechanical thermostats: Mechanical thermostats are the most common type of thermostat and operate based on a wax pellet that expands when heated, opening the thermostat valve and allowing coolant to flow through the engine. These thermostats are reliable, cost-effective, and relatively easy to replace.
  • Electric thermostats: Electric thermostats use an electric motor to open and close the thermostat valve. These thermostats are more precise and reliable than mechanical thermostats and are commonly used in high-performance cars.
  • Programmable thermostats: Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature range at which the thermostat opens and closes, giving you greater control over your car’s cooling system. These thermostats are more expensive than mechanical and electric thermostats, but they provide greater accuracy and flexibility.

Common Issues with Thermostats and How to Troubleshoot Them


Overheating can be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat that fails to regulate the engine’s temperature.

Under Heating:

Under heating occurs when the thermostat remains open, allowing coolant to constantly flow, resulting in insufficient engine heat.

Stuck thermostat:

A stuck thermostat can result in either overheating or under heating.

Thermostat leaks:

Thermostat leaks can cause coolant loss and may lead to engine damage. Troubleshooting tips include checking for coolant leaks, replacing a faulty thermostat, and ensuring proper coolant levels.


The type of thermostat you need for your car depends on various factors such as the make and model of your car, the climate you live in, and your driving habits. It is important to consult with a qualified mechanic or refer to your car’s owner manual to determine the appropriate thermostat for your car.

It is also crucial to ensure that the thermostat is properly installed and functioning to prevent any damage to your engine and ensure optimal performance. With the right thermostat, you can maintain your car’s temperature and enjoy a comfortable driving experience.