Removing the Thermostat: Is It a Good Idea?


Many vehicle owners and mechanics choose to remove the engine thermostat or swap it for one that opens at lower temperatures to help the engine run cooler. However, some people wonder if it is a good idea or not. The first step is to understand what the thermostat does and why it is commonly removed or swapped.

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The Purpose
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The engine thermostat serves the sole purpose of regulating coolant flow to the engine. Every engine is designed to work within a particular temperature range and has a particular thermostat installed to ensure that it runs within that range. When engines are cold, the thermostat stays closed and doesn’t allow coolant inside so that it warms up faster. Once it is warm, the thermostat opens up to allow the coolant to flow through and cool it so that it doesn’t overheat. The functionality is essential for the best engine performance. When you run your engine too hot or too cool, it results in lower fuel efficiency, increased wear and tear and on the engine, and loss of power.

With that said, there are some myths regarding thermostat removal and these should be cleared up so that you can make an informed decision about your vehicle and needs.

It Improves Performance (MYTH)

All engines are designed to run best within a certain temperature range. If your engine is operating outside that range (including at a cooler temperature), performance is bound to suffer.

Solve Over-heating Issues (MYTH)

While it is true that a thermostat that doesn’t open can cause an overheating problem, that doesn’t mean you should remove the thermostat altogether. You still need to install something to replace the old thermostat.

The best thing to do is remove the component and test it for durability. Put it in a pot filled with water and bring it to a boil. The thermostat should sit in the water and not touch the sides or bottom of the pot. You should also use a thermometer in the pot to monitor water temperature. The thermostat valve should open when the boiling water gets above a particular temperature. If it doesn’t open at all, you should replace the thermostat. If it does open, then there are other issues involved, and you need to continue testing the thermostat.

When/if you do choose to replace the thermostat, make sure to select one that’s designed to activate during the same temperature range as the original thermostat so that the engine performs similarly.

Don’t Need One because of Climate (MYTH)

Many people believe incorrectly that they don’t need a thermostat at all because they live in a warm or cool climate. However, your thermostat is essential regardless of the climate in which you live. Even if daily temperatures in your area stay at the optimal temperature for your engine, the temperature at night can be very different.

Along with such, newer cars have onboard computers that monitor everything and adjusts your system accordingly. Therefore, if you remove the thermostat, you send false/incorrect signals to the computer. The same applies if you choose a different thermostat with a lower temp output. The computer tries to adjust its system to compensate the incorrect readings, which can degrade your engine’s performance even more and cause overheating issues.

Question to Ask Yourself

If you’re still unsure if a thermostat is essential, ask yourself why the manufacturer included it when building and designing the car. Manufacturers don’t include unnecessary parts because they want to save money and cut costs. Therefore, if they go through the process of eliminating unnecessary parts and the thermostat is still there, it’s an indication you need to leave it on there or replace it when necessary.

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Removing the Thermostat: Is It a Good Idea?

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