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Drive A Car Without a Thermostat: All You Need to Know

You might have been opposing various views whether or not to drive without a thermostat. The thermostat has this amazing feature to keep the engine cool every time it gets hot. So running a car with no thermostat has its own consequences that every driver must know. Let’s discover what will happen!

Before we answer the question of “is it okay to take the thermostat out of my car”, let’s learn a bit about the car thermostats.

What are Car Thermostats?

Car thermostats are the small device that sits between the radiator and the engine of a liquid-cooled car. The thermostat in most cars is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter and play an important role in the car which is to regulate the flow of the engine coolant from the engine to the radiator. When it is closed, the coolant cannot flow into the radiator which can lead to a rapid increase in engine temperature. And when it is opened at about 200 degrees F, engine coolant flows into the radiator where it dissipates heat and cools the now-hot coolant. By letting the engine warm up as quickly as possible, the thermostat reduces engine wear, deposits and emissions.

As we mentioned above, the working principle of a car thermostat is really simple, yet it is an impressive component of a car. If you have a chance to test it, you will soon realize it seems impossible. You can put one in a pot of boiling water on the stove. As it heats up, its valve opens about an inch, apparently by magic! If you’d like to try this yourself, go to a car parts store and buy one for a couple of bucks.

This is a simple introduction about the car thermostat, now let’s move on to the consequences of running a car with no thermostat. 

What You Need to Know When Running a Car with no Thermostat?

Running a car with no thermostat is not a great idea as you may face numerous consequences of it. In addition, the total performance of the car gets affected if the thermostat is detached:

1. The Coolant

The thermostat is a simple valve located between the radiator and engine.

As we already know, the major purpose of the thermostat is to maintain the engine at the proper temperature. The radiator runs to the entire engine and keeps it cool with the help of coolants. When the thermostat is detached, the engine remains cool as the radiator is moved to it quickly into the system. A normal car engine is meant to run in eighty to hundred degree centigrade temperatures. When running the car without a thermostat, it runs at 50o C temperature. At this temperature, the humidity gets packed in and condensed, which blend with the oil and results in slush. This leads to the situation that the slush blocks lubrication and the entire system wears out. For that reason, running a car with no thermostat is destroying vehicle performance.

2. Engine Parts

It is essential for drivers to heat the engine first, since starting a cold engine results in parts to wear out. Life of the engine minimizes quickly as the bad components are not isolated from the oil. The engine undergoes the closed loop procedure when the engine is beyond a particular temperature. If the temperature doesn’t increase, the engine will choke and stop ultimately.

In fact, the heater will produce the cold air as well. Secondly, there is a chance that the water will flow through the radiator so fast that it will not stay in the radiator long enough to cool down, which will make your  engine overheat.


However, depending on the age of the car, running a car with no thermostat can burn more fuel as ECM (engine control module) would think that the engine is still in its cool state and need to start up. The ECU tunes the performance parameters based on real time readings at the intake, the combustion chamber, the exhaust, and the catalytic converters.

So, in order for the ECU to control the fuel/air mixture, timing, shift point, etc… all the sensors need to be running within a specified range. The range varies by manufacturer and you would have to look them up for your vehicle. If you run your car without the thermostat, some of the required temperatures aren’t met, forcing the ECU to balance the emissions on a “cold engine” all the time, even though it’s been running all day.

3. Thermostat Replacement

The bad thermostat can ruin the entire vehicle. The regular replacement of the thermostat will help you maintain the entire working of the car. The engine will reach its optimal temperature and the entire system will work properly.

Therefore, thermostat removal is harmful to your car and its components in every possible way.

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Solution for the Lack of Heat

Lack of heat can be treated by placing a large cardboard in front of the radiator. It must be located somewhere in between the car grill and the radiator. This method averts the radiator to cool down the entire system by reducing the cold air blowing. It might even treat that cold air issue from the heater too. But, while pursuing this method keep your eyes on the temperature gauze so that the engine doesn’t overheat. If the temperature hikes too much, abort the operation and remove the board. So, use this method whenever you think- can a car run without a thermostat?

So can you travel far with no heat in the vehicle – Is it worth it? 

How to Drive A Car Without A Thermostat

You should never run a car without a thermostat but what if you have to? Is there any safe way to help you? Here is the method for running a car with no thermostat. 

If you drive without a thermostat, your engine will never reach its optimal operating temperature and your heater may blow cold air. If you live in a warm climate, this should not be a problem. So when your car lacks heat, you can place a large piece of cardboard in front of the radiator and between the radiator and the car’s grill. It will help to keep cold air from blowing across your radiator and further cooling your car. When using the cardboard method, be sure to keep an eye on your temperature gauge, to insure that your car engine does not overheat. If the temperature gauge starts to creep too high, simply stop and remove the cardboard.

The decrease in gas mileage or performance is usual to see, so do not panic! It happens because driving without a thermostat tricks your engine into thinking it is cold outside, causing it to adjust the gas mixing valve and push more fuel to the engine. Keep a close eye on your gas gauge when driving without a thermostat, so you do not run out of gas. Your engine will use more fuel than normal.

Driving your car as normal and quickly finding a mechanic to replace your car thermostat as soon as possible. Any delay will cause serious consequences to your car .

Wrap Up

Running a car with no thermostat is overall a bad idea to pursue. In any situation, you feel unsure about the condition of the thermostat, use the best maintenance tips, or simply consult the professionals as soon as possible. Leave a comment below if you need an explanation for anything, we will be back soon to answer you! 

  1. Xavier Olede says

    In Africa and specifically uganda,the car sellers and specifically the mechanics advice clients to quickly remove the thermostat to avoid overheating because the device is not compatible with the high temperatures in Africa,how true is this ?

    1. Saviour says

      Did you get feedback on your question? it is the same case in Zambia.

  2. Seru Savou says

    Iam running my car without thermostat as advised by my mechanic, when it blocke d and damaged my car radiator . However I fill the water regularly to avoid overheating. Is this okay ?

  3. Kelly kalaba says

    I have been driving my car for 12 years now without a thermostat and nothing bad has happened.i removed it because my car was overheating and probably failed all the diagonisis I tried with qualified mechanics…

    1. Isaac says

      I removed the thermostat when my car overheated frequently.since then I have had no problem of overheating.should I reattach the gadget?

  4. Michael says

    My mechanic advised me to detach it immediately because it’s not compatible with the weather at Kenyan Coast. What should I do?

  5. Saviour says

    Thanks very much for clearing the air on thermostats. In Zambia the themostarts are removed from most vehicles on recommendations by mechanics as they are blamed for overheating in second hand cars, claiming that they are meant for countries with very cold temperatures. Do you insist they are very wrong in making such recommendations?

  6. Charles okun says

    Charles okun here in Kampala Uganda. The thing is that i have owned quite a number of Japan’s Toyota cars I actually always import them for my own but I have never removed a thermostat from any of these cars and better still none has ever got overheated and I use them for some long period of time before selling off.

  7. Moses Oguti says

    In Uganda its ignorance occasioning the removal of thermostats from cars. In most cases unqualified mechanics advise car owners to detach their thermostats. This usually happens with Japanese vehicles. For most European cars, you notice immediate problems such as overheating, sluggishness, increased fuel consumption and a check engine light as soon as you detach the thermostat.

  8. Dhana says

    I have car hundyi getz
    My foreman have removed the car themorestart. (Asian not require) now my aircom.get hot after 10 minute. Is the hot any think to do with themorestart removed.

  9. IkeAnkoma says

    My mechanic just advised me to detach the thermostat from my Toyota Corolla car because he said it does not work well in our kind of weather in Ghana. After reading this article I am confused as to whether it was a good decision to detach the thermostat. I need your advice.

  10. Alfred says

    Well,I am a professional mechanic that lives in Jamaica,and I think thermostat in cars in Jamaica,got stuck so quickly,and block off the flow of coolant and so the cars got overheated,and even burst the radiator,because of the hot climate weather in Jamaica,most mechanics always remove the thermostat from their vehicles,in order for a better circulation of flow through the radiator,but it not all vehicle you can remove the thermostat,so in countries that are not so hot,thermostat work better.

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