What if my car runs out of antifreeze?

The temperature of a car engine is a very important factor for it to function properly and be safe. To control it, cars have a built-in valve called a thermostat whose function is to regulate the flow of water or coolant to the radiator. This means that the thermostat closes the passage and does not allow these liquids to flow into the engine until they have reached the ideal temperature specified by the manufacturer.

Being a fundamental element to control the maintenance of the engine, the thermostat acquires a special relevance in the car. So how do you know if your car thermostat is working? Here we explain everything you need to know to know the status of your car’s thermostat, as well as the reasons behind its failures and the possible solutions to fix them.

Analyze the cooling flow

There are several ways to find out if your car’s thermostat is working properly. One of them is by monitoring the coolant circulating through the engine. Here, we recommend that you follow the following steps to do it safely:

  1. Uncover the radiator(a small box located in the front axle) after opening the hood of the car. Turn the screwed cap on one of the two sides counterclockwise until it is loose. Don’t do this right after driving – allow a reasonable amount of time for the engine to cool down.
  2. With the car stopped, start the thruster and do not turn it off for the next 20 minutes. In this way, you can graduate and reach the most suitable temperature.
  3. Check that the coolant circulates through the radiator. If so, the valve will have opened properly and therefore the thermostat is working. Otherwise, it means it is locked.
  4. See if the temperature arrow points to the danger zone(in red). If you have that address, the thermostat is causing the failure.

Take the engine temperature

Another way to find out if your car’s thermostat is working properly is by measuring the temperature of your drive. In this case, you will need an infrared thermometer and you will have to follow these indications:

  • Start the engine and leave it parked to allow the coolant to warm up. It is important to do it outdoors so that polluting gases from the car do not accumulate.
  • Use an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature the propellant reaches. Write down the degrees once the gauge stabilizes.
  • You should do the same with the radiator hose: record its temperature and compare it with that of the engine. If it is lower, everything works fine; if it is the same, the thermostat has opened and locked.
  • Allow 15 minutes to elapse and repeat the same procedures with the engine and radiator hose. If the temperature is around 18 degrees, the fault has been corrected. Otherwise the fault persists.


Heat water and test the thermostat

The third method that we recommend in this article to find out if your car’s thermostat works is to test it in hot water. To do it safely, follow these steps:

  1. Drains the fluid circulating through the radiator. It is important that the drain plug is screwed in once you are done. Avoid skin contact with the refrigerant because it contains toxic components.
  2. Using a screwdriver, separate the hose from the radiator.
  3. Disconnect the frame from the thrust, grab the thermostat, and remove it. You can use a socket wrench to make the process easier.
  4. Dip the thermostat in water. If you are using a saucepan, avoid touching the base as it can distort the temperature you have taken.
  5. Boil the water so that the thermostat is at the temperature it normally works at inside the engine.
  6. Finally, take the valve out of the water and check if it is open. If it opens, it works properly and if it stays closed, you need to replace it.


Thermostat failure – causes

The thermostat is a delicate part in a car engine. Considering the importance of its function, it is necessary to know why it may crash. Some of the causes of thermostat failures are:

  • The engine works at a low temperature and this causes the fluid to accelerate.
  • The heaters do not work and this prevents the heating mode from being activated.
  • There are distortions in the vehicle temperature.
  • There is increased fuel consumption since the engine is running in too cold temperatures.


How to repair the thermostat

To fix your car’s thermostat, you just need to perform the following instructions step by step:

  1. Remove the thruster thermostat.
  2. Look at the valve inside. It is made of mercury, so you must handle it with the utmost caution. If you notice a break inside the valve, the thermostat is irreparable and you will have to replace it.
  3. Mix water and vinegar in equal proportions and, with the mixture, clean the thermostat.
  4. Put the valve in a pot of boiling water. If it manages to compress, it will be fixed. If it stays the same, you will need to replace it.
  5. Reinstall the thermostat where it belongs on the engine.

The price of a thermostat for a car is usually around 40 euros, not counting the price of the coolant (about 30 euros) or the labor to change it if you do not do it personally.

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