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Integrated Thermostats vs. Standard Thermostats

The thermostat is one of the most vital components of your car’s cooling system. It is what regulates the temperature and allows the rest of the system to function. If your thermostat fails, then your car is eventually going to overheat if you are not careful.

What Are Integrated Thermostats?

Integrated housing thermostats are a newer design that the traditional thermostat design. With traditional applications, the thermostat and housing were two completely separate units. This allowed you to replace the thermostat by itself rather than having to replace the housing as well.

While traditional thermostats are typically cheaper than integrated housing thermostats, the newer design is more foolproof when installing. The biggest issue many people had with traditional housings was that the housing was easily damaged if too much torque was applied to the bolts. This could also lead to breaking a bolt off in the head. With integrated housings, the parts have been designed so they cannot be crushed or warped like traditional housings can.

Replacing Traditional Thermostats

Replacing traditional thermostats is a very easy job, but it is easy to damage your thermostat housing. This can happen if you over tighten the housing bolts when you are installing the new thermostat. To replace it you would simply remove the upper radiator hose from the housing, unbolt the housing and pull it off. Then you would remove the old thermostat, scrape off the old gasket, and install the new one. All total this job should not take more than a few minutes for even an inexperienced mechanic.

This sounds so easy, how could it cause problems? Well, first, thermostat housings are made of either steel or aluminum. Steel ones are a bit harder to mess up, but it can be done. Aluminum housings, which are more common, do not handle torque well. If you over torque the bolts on an aluminum housing then it will cause the housing to warp and prevent it from sealing properly.

Replacing Integrated Housing Thermostats

Replacing integrated thermostats is a bit different than traditional thermostats. First, they will change depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Traditional thermostats were all replaced in basically the same way in most cases, but now one maker may have the thermostat be inline while others will have it sit on top of the radiator with a long actuator to actually control the flow of coolant.

While traditional thermostats may be cheaper in most cases, integrated thermostats are taking over. They make the job of mechanics and parts suppliers easier, however, since they only have to stock a single part rather than two to make certain that they will have the housing and thermostat.