Car Thermostat Replacement Cost [DIY Vs Mechanic]
The thermostat is an essential vehicle component that monitors and helps regulate your engine’s temperature. When it’s faulty, it can cause your engine to overheat or cause other issues that impact your vehicle’s performance.
For most vehicles, it costs between $130 and $325 to replace the thermostat. Ultimately, the price will be based on your vehicle’s make and model and where you take it for the work. For a standard sedan, the average cost is between $175 and $225.
The price for a thermostat replacement primarily depends on your vehicle’s make, model, and year. The thermostat itself is typically an inexpensive part, meaning that most of the cost is based on the labor charge.
How difficult it is to reach the thermostat and change it out for a new one varies from one vehicle to the next, meaning that the amount of time it takes to do the job varies as well.
|Minimum Price||$75 - $115|
|Maximum Price||$275 - $325|
|Average Price||$150 - $250|
Where your particular vehicle will fit into the cost range will depend on how much the parts cost and how long it takes to do the work. As a result, the price can fluctuate quite a bit depending on your car. For example, a standard sedan like a Honda Accord might be in the $150 – $190 range.
On the other hand, for a luxury import vehicle like a Jaguar XJ, you might be looking at over $400 to replace the thermostat.
Car Thermostat Replacement Cost By Model
|Vehicle Make and Model||Cost Estimate|
|Ford F-Series||$125 - $195|
|Nissan Altima||$125 - $170|
|Chevrolet Silverado||$150 - $225|
|Ford Fusion||$100 - $165|
|Toyota Camry||$200 - $275|
|Ford Focus||$200 - $285|
|Honda Civic||$100 - $150|
|Toyota Corolla||$145 - $215|
|Honda CR-V||$135 - $200|
In addition to the vehicle’s make, model, and year, where you take it for the work is also a big factor when it comes to the price. Since much of the cost is based on labor, the price will be different if you take it to the dealership versus an independent mechanic, for example.
Factors Impacting the Cost to Replace a Car Thermostat
Thermostat Replacement Cost Estimate
|Midas||$100 - $275|
|Mr. Tire||$100 - $285|
|Your Mechanic||$140 - $325|
|Dealership||$185 - $335|
The variation in price estimates from different service providers is based on the different vehicle makes and models.
Since most of the cost for replacing a thermostat is based on labor, the total cost for the job can be much higher or lower depending on your vehicle.
The labor charge per hour varies. Still, on average it’s usually between $80 and $130. Taking your vehicle to a dealership usually means that you’ll be paying closer to $115-$130 per hour for labor.
It’s usually more cost-effective to go to a local independent mechanic or even a chain garage like Pep Boys or Midas when it comes to simple jobs like a thermostat replacement.
The good news is that this repair, usually only takes an hour to do the work. If you’re already having other work done on your vehicle, then you can save even more on the labor fees.
Let’s take a look at some sample costs for some different types of vehicles and how they compare at a local or independent garage versus a dealership.
Thermostat Replacement Cost Estimate
|2011 Chrysler 200||$175 - $200||$195 - $215|
|2009 Lexus LS600H||$310 - $325||$335 - $350|
|2010 Lexus GS460||$250 - $265||$270 - $295|
|2006 Chevy Corvette||$170 - $185||$185 - $200|
Thermostat Housing Leak Repair Cost
The cost to repair a thermostat housing leak is around $75 for parts if you are going to do-it-yourself. If you hire a mechanic to do the job, you will have to also pay for labor. On average, you can expect to pay approximately $100 to $200 in total for parts and labor.
How do I know if my thermostat housing is leaking?
There are a few obvious signs of a thermometer housing leak, but you should be aware that any of these symptoms can have multiple causes. If any of these symptoms are in evidence, you will have to do a more detailed analysis of individual parts to figure out which one is really causing the problem.
The first thing you will likely notice if you have a thermostat housing leak is a high reading on your temperature gauge. If coolant cannot flow, or if you are low on fluid, the engine will heat to unsafe levels.
Another common reason for a high-temperature reading is a faulty thermostat. In fact, a faulty thermostat can even be the cause of the thermostat housing leak if there is one.
If the thermostat is not working properly the housing can crack from high pressure. You should therefore check the whole system. Finally, if you are dealing with a coolant leak specifically, you will see a low coolant indicator illuminate on your dashboard and you will probably see puddles of coolant under your vehicle.
In this situation, the leak may not be specified in your thermostat housing, but it would be a good place to start. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should try to not drive your car until the issue is resolved.
You may be able to drive very short distances, but as soon as you get high-temperature readings you should turn off your engine and let it cool. In the end, it is much safer to not drive at all and get the leak fixed as soon as possible.
|Car||Total Cost||Parts Cost|
|2000 Acura Integra||$146-$172||$100|
|2000 BMW M5||$316-$366||$150|
|2015 Chevy Suburban||$458-$564||$150|
|2000 Hyundai Elantra||$89-$121||$100|
|2015 Chrysler Town & Country||$123-$141||$100|
|2010 Dodge Ram 2500||$233-$268||$120|
Diagnosing a Thermostat Problem in Your Car
An issue with your vehicle’s engine thermostat will need to be identified and diagnosed quickly, as it has the potential to cause more problems if it’s not addressed.
There are some signs and symptoms to consider that will help you know that it may be time to replace your thermostat.
If the thermostat’s valve is stuck in a closed position, it may cause the engine to overheat. However, an overheating engine can be due to many different things.
The thermostat will be one of the things that a mechanic will check when diagnosing a problem with the vehicle’s cooling system.
In the most severe cases when your thermostat is stuck closed, it can cause steam or smoke to flow from underneath your hood, head gasket failure, or severe engine damage. Overheating should never be ignored.
Engine Runs Cold
If the thermostat is stuck in the open position, it can cause the engine to run colder than it should. When this happens, your check engine light will normally illuminate.
You’ll also find that your fuel efficiency declines and your heater may only blow cool or cold air. In many cases, you may also notice that your automatic transmission doesn’t shift into higher gears as easily as normal.
Temperature Gauge is Reading Inaccurately
When the thermostat gets stuck, it can cause the engine temperature to go out of range. The temperature gauge on your dash controls will also fluctuate if this is the problem.
Check Engine Light
This indicator light illuminates when your vehicle generates a trouble code, which means that something is going on that you should have checked out.
If your thermostat is malfunctioning, it will likely activate a trouble code that will turn on your check engine light.
There are other times you may wish to consider replacing your thermostat, even if it hasn’t failed completely. For example, if you’re having work done to your vehicle’s cooling system, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and change the thermostat.
Most people include replacing the thermostat whenever they have their water pump or radiator replaced to prevent future failures.
It’s a good idea to have your thermostat visually inspected from time to time. It’s located in a pretty severe environment which may cause damage over time.
Your thermostat can become damaged by things like rust, corrosion, leaks, and electrical or electronic malfunctions.
Can You Replace Your Own Car Thermostat?
Replacing a car thermostat can be a relatively straightforward repair that you may be able to do yourself depending on your skill level.
However, for some vehicles, it’s much more involved and could require disconnecting or moving various parts of the engine.
It’s also not recommended that you do the job yourself if there’s an undiagnosed problem with your cooling system or engine.
However, if you decide to go the DIY route, you can save yourself quite a bit of money on the job. The parts to replace a car thermostat are not very expensive for most vehicles.
A replacement thermostat may be as inexpensive as $8 or close to $700. However, for most vehicles, the part averages around $25 for aftermarket replacements.
There are also universal fit thermostats on the market that are designed to fit any vehicle, like one made by Painless that retails for around $55.
Let’s take a look at some example prices for a new thermostat based on vehicle make and model.
|Vehicle Make/Model||Thermostat Brand||Sample Price|
|2015 Honda Civic||Gates||$12|
|2015 Honda Civic||Stant||$28|
|2015 Honda Civic||Mahle (OEM)||$49|
|2015 Honda Civic||Painless (Performance Replacement)||$55|
|2015 BMW 320i||Mahle||$84|
|2015 BMW 320i||Stant||$51|
|2015 Chevy Silverado 1500||Gates||$15|
|2015 Chevy Silverado 1500||Gates (OE temperature)||$59|
|2015 Ford F-150||Gates (OE temperature)||$22|
|2015 Ford F-150||Painless (Performance Replacement)||$54|
|2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee||Stant (OE replacement)||$29|
|2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee||Crown (OE replacement)||$20|
|2017 Nissan Altima||Gates (OE replacement)||$26|
|2017 Nissan Altima||Beck Arnley (OE replacement)||$25|
|2014 Toyota Camry||Beck Arnley (OE replacement)||$16|
|2014 Toyota Camry||Stant||$22v|
|2011 Volvo S60 )||Gates (OE replacement||$101|
|2011 Volvo S60||Beck Arnley (OE replacement)||$51|
|2013 Mini Cooper||Stant||$186|
|2013 Mini Cooper||Beck Arnley||$94|
|2013 Mercedes Benz S550||GenuineXL||$300|
|2014 Jaguar XK||GenuineXL||$110|
The prices for replacement thermostats vary somewhat, but most have options in the $20-$30 range. The only vehicles that would be much more expensive for a new thermostat are luxury and performance sports vehicles.
For example, a new thermostat for a high-end Mercedes Benz costs around $300, the most of any vehicle we sampled.
Other vehicles like Volvo and Mini are typically more expensive for these parts compared to the others on the list.
How to Replace Your Car Thermostat
Since the parts are usually fairly cheap and the repair is pretty simple for most vehicles, you may want to try to do the job yourself. Just be sure that your engine has cooled completely before beginning the task.
- Locate the thermostat. In most vehicles, you’ll find it where the top radiator hose connects to the engine. If you don’t find it there, check the bottom radiator hose. The next steps will be the same regardless of which side your thermostat is located.
- Place a pan or bucket underneath the area. Some coolant will pour out during the process, so make sure that you have a clean container available to catch it. A two-gallon bucket is ideal. Once you’re done with the job, you can pour the fluid back into the radiator as long as the bucket is clean.
- Disconnect the radiator hose. Follow the hose to the radiator where the thermostat is located. Remove the clamp from the hose and pull the hose off. This is where some of the radiator fluid will pour out into your bucket, so make sure it’s lined up properly.
- Remove the old thermostat. Remove the bolts to the thermostat housing and lift out the thermostat. Compare the old parts to your new thermostat and gaskets. If they don’t look exactly the same, you’ll need to return them for the correct parts.
- Replace the gasket. If you didn’t already, remove the old gasket and any stuck-on residue and pieces of gasket, making sure that nothing falls into the hole. Once clean, lay the new gasket in the same place.
- Install the new thermostat. Drop the new thermostat into place, spring-side down. Secure it using the bolts.
- Replace the radiator hose and clamp. Put the hose back into place and re-install the clamp. If the clamp has screws, tighten them up securely but not too tightly. You don’t want the clamp to cut into the hose.
- Return fluid to reservoir. Pour the fluid from your bucket back into the hole or coolant reservoir. Use a funnel if necessary. You don’t want fluid spilling out onto the ground where it may be a danger to animals or children.
- Check for spills. Check the area for any spilled or leaked fluid. If you find any, wipe it up completely and rinse the area with plenty of clean water. Seal the paper towels or rags in a trash bag and dispose of it properly.
Why Do Thermostats In Cars Go Bad?
There are some common reasons that thermostats fail. These reasons might not apply to your situation, but they are the most commonly seen reasons for this kind of failure.
If your car suffers an overheating event, it could lead to damage to the thermostat that will render it useless to you after this overheating.
You will find that the components inside a thermostat are not really made to tolerate extreme heat and this exposure can cause them to fail entirely.
When your engine coolant gets contaminated, it can actually congeal inside the thermostat and cause it to fail. This is a common reason for thermostat issues and it might also indicate larger issues inside the engine.
Engines that have gotten dirty with sludgy coolant pushed through them might suffer extreme damage that goes far beyond the damage to the thermostat.
Sometimes parts are just not made right from the factory and it is possible to get a defective thermostat that will fail over time. Minor defects can lead to this part failing.
If you have a new car, this might be a recalled item or part, but in older cars, you will have to pay for the repairs yourself in most cases.
As your car’s engine ages, so does your thermostat. The thermostat is exposed to high heat and intense cold in some parts of the US as well, which can cause additional stress on the engine components overall, including your thermostat.
You will find that an aging car engine might show stress in a number of ways and the thermostat failing can be a common source of older engine problems.
The Bottom Line
Replacing your car’s thermostat is a necessary repair if yours begins to malfunction or fails. Luckily, it’s not too expensive for most vehicles. If you take your car to a shop, you’ll most likely pay between $130 and $325 for the work.
If your thermostat fails and you don’t have it replaced, you may end up causing significant damage that will be very expensive to repair later on. If your engine shows signs of overheating or you suspect a problem with the cooling system, take it to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
Replacing the thermostat is fairly simple for most vehicles, so many people opt to do the job themselves. The parts are inexpensive and it doesn’t require any special tools.
If you replace your own thermostat, you can save a couple of hundred dollars. For most vehicles, you can find a replacement thermostat for $15-$30. The best way to save on your thermostat replacement is to be sure to have it replaced when you’re getting other related work done.
Most people have their thermostats swapped out when they have the water pump or radiator worked on or replaced. This will help cut down on labor costs since the mechanic is already working on that part of the engine.