How to Find and Fix Sticking or Failed Thermostat on Trucks

Finding and Fixing Sticking or Failed Thermostat on Trucks

There are many things that can go wrong with a truck that will render it immobile. One of these issues involves the thermostat. When problems arise with this crucial component, the issues it causes can often be a costly expense to the owner.

Your thermostat is a spring-loaded device that opens and shuts based on the temperature of your antifreeze. When you first start your vehicle the thermostat will remain shut, blocking off the flow of coolant throughout the system. The coolant in the engine will then quickly heat up to the proper operating temperature of about 195°. Once the correct operating temperature is reached, the thermostat will slowly open allowing the fluid through the radiator. The radiator will then begin cooling the fluid and keep it below the boiling point of about 223° if you use a 50/50 coolant mix.

Signs of Thermostat Failure in trucks

  • Fluctuations on your temperature gauge
  • A thumping or pounding sound
  • Temperature gauge running cool
  • There is an antifreeze leak smell
  • Not getting proper heat in your cab
  • Overheats quickly after starting to drive
  • Overheats slowly while on the road

When any of these problems become apparent in a truck’s performance, it will be necessary to have a qualified mechanic investigate the cooling system including the thermostat.

Truck Thermostat Information

Do not operate your vehicle without a thermostat

A thermostat can both prevent you from overheating and cause you to overheat

A thermostat can cause you to run too cold and get no heat in your vehicle

A thermostat can be very easy to replace or can be hidden within your engine

You could have more than one thermostat in your vehicle

If your cooling system has overheated, replace your thermostat

Many vehicles will overheat without a thermostat installed

Make sure you install the thermostat right side up

A new thermostat could be defective, double check your work

Replace your old thermostat with the same temperature rated thermostat

A malfunctioning thermostat can cause overheating, cooling system damaging and render the driver stranded.

Truck Thermostat Repair Cost

The thermostat replacement cost is minimal in comparison to the cost of the damage it can cause if you neglect replacing a thermostat . New thermostats for most trucks are relatively inexpensive and are best installed by a certified and qualified mechanic.

The cost for parts in this type of repair are normally under $35.00. The labor takes normally about two hours, so depending on the current cost per hour for labor, this repair will normally be under $250.00. It should be noted that the cost of coolant may be added to the total cost.

Thermostats can be relatively easy to replace if the housing is out in the open and on top of the engine.  If you are comfortable performing basic maintenance this may be a simple job for you. Just make sure you completely clean off the old gasket so that the new gasket will sit properly and not leak or crack the housing. Also, make sure you use the proper temperature thermostat for your vehicle and don’t put it in upside down. Then you must run and recheck everything and make sure there are no air pockets in your system.

Replacing a Faulty Thermostat

A mechanic will replace a faulty thermostat with a new one and possibly flush the system and fill with new antifreeze. He will then need to run the vehicle to properly fill the system. He will also need to check for any air pockets or bubbles within the cooling system.

When it comes to a faulty thermostat in a truck, a professional mechanic is usually the best way to assure that the new unit is installed properly and will function correctly. Don’t be left on the side of the road because of a faulty thermostat in your truck. Call on a professional mechanic today.

Cooling System Scalding Danger

Removing a radiator cap on a hot truck cooling system will release pressure and hot antifreeze and has the potential to scald you. The radiator cap is meant to hold about 15 pounds of pressure. When you remove a radiator cap you release pressure and hot fluid that can shoot up into your face and burn the skin off you. I have seen this happen. If your system is hot, do not remove the cap.