Vehicles can face various issues. All these issues are either repairable or irreparable. A bad thermostat is among those issues that a vehicle may encounter.
You may ask if you can drive with a bad thermostat. Let us help you find the answer you are looking for and provide you with some necessary information regarding this matter.
Can you drive with a bad thermostat?
It would be best if you did not drive with a bad thermostat. This causes the engine to overheat. Although you can physically drive your car, this issue may cause severe damage to your vehicle’s engine. These damages may be catastrophic. Therefore, you should not drive with a bad thermostat.
The thermostat in various vehicles can face trouble from various issues. If you do not perform necessary maintenance in your vehicle, it may cause a faulty thermostat.
Even if you replace a new thermostat and face the same problems, your new thermostat is probably faulty.
You may also face a stuck thermostat. This is another issue which is caused by lack of maintenance. Lack of maintenance causes sludge to build up in the thermostat area. Therefore, it may jam up the thermostat so badly that it will not work anymore.
So, this kind of thermostat issue is known as a stuck thermostat.
Broken thermostats are also a big issue. This is caused due to aging and defects. Old vehicles face issues from broken thermostats. The spring and components inside the thermostat get worn out over time. Therefore, it causes the thermostat to become broken.
Thermostat-related issues in a vehicle are a nightmare for the engine of the vehicle. Due to these issues, the engine does not receive enough coolant to keep engine cool. Thus, the engine overheats while you drive and even damages the engine.
What happens if you drive with a bad thermostat?
Several things happen if you drive with a bad thermostat. If you want to some of the issues, here are some noteworthy incidents that we think you should know:
Engine temperature will fluctuate:
A bad thermostat will cause the engine not to receive the necessary amount of coolant. Coolant keeps the engine cool. The thermostat helps to keep the engine warm at the same time.
But if the thermostat is bad, it will cause the engine not to receive the appropriate amount of coolant. Thus, the temperature in the engine will fluctuate a lot.
Vehicle’s cabin heater may blow cold air:
You may use the heater in the vehicle that you are driving. The heater uses the heat that is consumed by the coolant from the engine while driving. Thus, you will receive warm air in the vehicle if you turn on the heater.
But if you drive with a bad thermostat, it will cause the coolant not to receive the necessary amount of heat. The heater in the vehicle will not receive the heat that it requires to keep you warm.
Therefore, you may feel that you are getting cold air rather than warm air from the heater of your vehicle.
If you drive with a bad thermostat, it may cause the engine to consume more fuel. If the engine consumes more fuel, you will face bad mileage and may have to spend more on fuel.
The engine may shut down:
A bad thermostat will cause the engine to overheat. This is caused due to the lack of coolant flowing through the engine. As the engine overheats, it will turn off automatically due to the excess heat and prevent engine damage.
How long can you drive a car with a bad thermostat?
You cannot drive your car for long with a bad thermostat. A bad thermostat cannot stop you from driving your vehicle. It will not cause anything directly that will cause you to stop driving your car.
But it will cause various engine-related problems and if you keep driving your vehicle with this issue, it may even cause damage to your vehicle.
You can drive your car for a specific time. This cannot be appropriately determined. This entirely depends on how much time it will take your vehicle to overheat and how much overheating can your car endure.
After it reaches its limit, you cannot drive your vehicle anymore until it cools down.
Can you drive without a thermostat?
Yes, you can drive a car without a thermostat. A thermostat will not cause anything significant that will cause your car not to run. Your vehicle will run as usual without a thermostat.
But this does not mean that you can drive without a thermostat all time or simply just remove it from your vehicle. You can drive your vehicle until it overheats. After it overheats to its limit, it will shut down and not run properly until the engine cools down.
Can you drive with a bad thermostat sensor and thermostat housing?
Yes, you can drive with a bad thermostat sensor and thermostat housing. It is possible to drive a vehicle with a bad thermostat sensor and thermostat housing. This will not cause anything significant to prevent you from driving your car.
But you cannot drive your car properly without them. This is a crucial part of your car. This helps your vehicle to run properly and keeps the engine running properly.
The sensor helps you to get updated information about the temperature of your engine and the housing keeps the engine at its optimal temperature.
So, you can drive your car without a thermostat sensor and housing. But it will cause various issues while driving and to the vehicle as well.
What are the symptoms of a faulty car thermostat?
There are many symptoms of a faulty car thermostat. Among all of them, here are some significant symptoms of a faulty car thermostat that we think is ideal for you to know:
High engine temperature reading:
The most significant symptom of a faulty car thermostat is high-temperature reading in the temperature gauge of the indicator display. Due to the blockage of coolant in the engine, it will cause the engine to overheat.
Although engine temperature may be low at the beginning, it will start to rise as time passes by.
Unusual air temperature change inside the vehicle cabin:
You may feel that the temperature inside the vehicle is frequently changing. This is another symptom that the car has a faulty thermostat and it causes problems in the environmental controls inside the vehicle.
The engine creates rumbling noises:
If the vehicle has a faulty thermostat, it may create various rumbling noises. You may heat that your engine, radiator, or both are making sounds like knocking sound, boiling sound, and many more.
Vehicle’s heater may malfunction:
Another symptom of a faulty car thermostat is the heater of the vehicle is not working.
Due to the malfunction of the thermostat of your vehicle, you may find that your heater is not receiving the necessary amount of heat from the thermostat and is blowing cold air instead of hot air.
Coolant may leak:
If the vehicle’s thermostat is faulty, it may cause a leak in the cooling system of the car. This may cause the engine to leak coolant and cause a lot of trouble.
How much to fix or replace the thermostat in a car?
To fix or replace the thermostat in a car will cost you around 200$ – 300$ depending on your car model and variant. The thermostat itself costs only 20$ – 80$ depending on the model you will require. It can be a cheap repair if you have the knowledge of working with a car.
But if you do not know how to repair cars, it is better to take it to the mechanic. Therefore, you can get your thermostat changed properly but it may cost you around 200$ – 300$ in total.
Can I replace my car thermostat myself?
Yes, you can replace your car thermostat by yourself. Changing a thermostat by yourself is not that hard. If you check some search the internet, you will find a lot of tutorials available.
To change the thermostat by yourself, you will need some necessary equipment and accessories. You will also need a new thermostat to replace it with. You will just have to replace the old thermostat from its housing and place the new one.
To place it back where it was, you must clear the connection points properly. Afterward, you will have to use sealant to put it back together.
You should not drive with a bad thermostat. Although it will not cause anything noteworthy to cause issues to drive your car at the time being, it will cause damage to your engine and other components of your vehicle. You may face various damages and cause the vehicle to become irreparable.
I am an automotive enthusiast and have been interested in cars since I was a little kid. I have worked in the automotive industry for many years and have extensive knowledge of vehicles and their engines. I am a father of two and I love spending time with my family.
Read more about the author here.