While driving down the road, you may have started to notice that your interior vents have started blowing hot air when you are running the air conditioner or even not running any climate control accessories at all. If so, there is a good possibility that the thermostat has started to fail, causing the engine to heat up excessively. If you believe this could be the case, look for the additional signs below that your car's thermostat is no longer working.
1. Erratic Temperature Changes While Driving
One sign that your car's thermostat is starting to fail is when erratic temperature changes occur inside of the motor. In order to properly thin the oil and combust the fuel to run, the engine must reach a certain temperature, which is typically indicated by a white section on your dashboard's gauge.
If the temperature stays too low, eventually, thick oil will start to gum up the interior of your engine, and your car will have lower gas mileage. Alternatively, if the temperature runs too hot, it could eventually melt such parts as the seals and pistons. However, usually, your car will overheat well before this happens.
While you are driving, keep an eye on the temperature gauge. If you notice that the needle continuously falls below and rises above the ideal temperature zone, have your thermostat checked out by an auto technician.
2. Radiator Hoses Are Cool to the Touch
Along with an engine that stays at the optimal temperature, the radiator hoses should normally be hot to the touch as the coolant is circulated to and from the radiator. You should only be able to lightly hold your hand above the hoses while feeling the heat rise from the rubber.
However, even if you have run your car for more than a few minutes, you may find that you can actually put your hand on the hoses without feeling any discomfort. If you are able to do this, the engine is not heating up enough, and the thermostat is most likely to blame.
If your car is exhibiting the above signs, the thermostat is most likely malfunctioning. Not only is a faulty thermostat hard on your vehicle's engine, but it will eventually cause the constant overheating of your car, which could leave you stranded on the side of the road. Before this scenario happens, take your car to an auto repair shop so that a mechanic can inspect the part and replace it if necessary.