How much does it cost to replace the thermostat in your Jeep Wrangler? The average total cost for a thermostat replacement is $150 to $300 depending on the year of your Wrangler and local labor rates. Parts themselves are relatively cheap at $15 to $50 for a new thermostat. The labor time comes in around 1-2 hours for a straightforward repair.
Replacing a faulty thermostat is important preventative maintenance to protect your Jeep’s engine from overheating damage. Read on to learn about common thermostat issues, get a breakdown of parts and labor costs, pick up tips to save money, and follow step-by-step DIY instructions.
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Why Does the Thermostat Need Replacement in a Jeep Wrangler?
The thermostat is a small valve within the cooling system that opens and closes to regulate engine temperature. When closed, it blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. When open, it allows coolant to circulate to keep the engine from overheating.
Over time, the thermostat can fail in a few different ways:
- Stuck closed – This fails to open and allow coolant flow even as the engine heats up. It leads to severe overheating issues.
- Stuck open – A thermostat stuck open doesn’t close to block coolant flow as intended. This prevents the engine from reaching optimal operating temperature.
- Erratic operation – An old thermostat may get “sticky” and open/close inconsistently. This leads to temperature spikes and drops.
- Leakage – Seal failure can cause coolant leaks. A very leaky thermostat housing may need replacement along with the thermostat itself.
Ignoring a faulty thermostat that doesn’t open properly will almost certainly lead to catastrophic engine overheating and head gasket failure down the road. That’s an extremely expensive repair bill!
Replacing the thermostat every 60,000 miles or so provides cheap insurance against overheating issues in your Jeep Wrangler. When replaced proactively, it takes less than 2 hours and costs around $150 in parts and labor.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace the Thermostat in a Jeep Wrangler?
The two main costs involved in a Jeep Wrangler thermostat replacement are parts and labor:
Thermostat Replacement Parts Cost
The thermostat itself is an inexpensive part, usually ranging from $15-$50 depending on the source:
- Aftermarket thermostats – $15-$30
- OEM Mopar thermostat – $40-$50
You may also need a new thermostat housing gasket/seal which runs $5-$15.
So all in you can plan on $20 to $65 in parts cost for a complete replacement job. Buying the parts yourself online instead of through a shop will save money.
Thermostat Replacement Labor Cost
The replacement labor time comes in around 1-2 hours for an experienced mechanic. A few key steps are draining the cooling system, removing the housing, swapping in the new thermostat, and refilling with coolant.
At average shop labor rates of $80-$120/hr, you can expect $80 to $240 in labor charges. Your total bill will end up in the $150 to $300 range in most cases.
Labor costs make up the bulk of the total, which is why DIY replacement can yield major savings if you’re handy.
As with any auto repair, prices can vary widely based on location, garage rates, and your Jeep model/year. Older Jeeps may require more time. Get quotes from a few different shops before committing.
Tips to Save Money on Jeep Wrangler Thermostat Replacement
Here are some tips to keep replacement costs down:
- Buy parts online – Skip the dealer markup and purchase the thermostat yourself online for cheaper. Make sure to get the correct part number.
- Shop labor rates – Get quotes from several mechanics. Prices can range widely just in your area.
- Ask about coupons – Many shops offer first-time customer deals. Check retailmenot.com.
- Time it with other maintenance – If you’re already replacing coolant, doing a radiator flush, or major tune-up, have the thermostat done at the same time. This avoids duplicate labor charges.
- DIY replacement – With some mechanical skill, the right tools, and the service manual for your Jeep, you can replace the thermostat yourself and just pay for parts. This saves big on labor.
Follow the steps below to take the DIY route. Going this path brings the total cost down under $100 in most cases. Just be sure to dispose of used coolant properly.
Step-by-Step Jeep Wrangler Thermostat Replacement Instructions
Here’s an overview of the complete DIY process for replacing the thermostat in a Jeep Wrangler:
Safely Drain the Cooling System
- Allow engine to fully cool before starting
- Disconnect negative battery cable
- Locate petcock drain valve on radiator and drain coolant into a container
- Open radiator cap to allow complete drainage
Remove Thermostat Housing
- Disconnect radiator hose from housing
- Unbolt housing and carefully remove it along with gasket
- Clean any gasket residue from housing surface
Remove Old Thermostat
- Pull old thermostat out of housing
- Inspect for any coolant leakage or residue
- Clean housing sealing surface thoroughly
Install New Thermostat
- Place new gasket in housing if needed
- Insert replacement thermostat into housing, ensuring it is fully seated
- Apply sealant/adhesive if recommended by manufacturer
Reinstall Thermostat Housing
- Carefully lower housing back into engine bay
- Snugly hand tighten mounting bolts, then torque to spec
- Reconnect all hoses and electrical connectors
Refill Cooling System
- Use proper coolant mix for your Jeep’s engine
- Fill radiator and overflow tank to max lines
- Run engine and check for leaks
- Top off coolant and reinstall radiator cap
Be sure to fully bleed any air bubbles out of the cooling system when refilling. Consult your factory service manual for complete instructions tailored to your Jeep’s model year. Proper tools, mechanical skills, and safety precautions are a must for DIY success.
Overall, the thermostat replacement procedure is very straight forward on most Jeep Wranglers once you get access to the housing. Just take care not spill or splash hot coolant during the process.
FAQs About Replacing the Thermostat in a Jeep Wrangler
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Jeep Wrangler thermostat replacement:
How often does the thermostat need replacement?
The recommended replacement interval is around 60,000 miles or 5 years. Some owners report needing a new thermostat as early as 40k miles. Have it inspected if your Jeep runs hot.
Can I drive with a bad thermostat?
You can drive short distances with a faulty thermostat temporarily. However it is risky and can lead to major engine damage if it sticks fully closed. Overheating damage is extremely expensive to repair. Replace it ASAP.
Should I get a thermostat flush or replacement?
If your Jeep has no cooling issues, just replace the thermostat itself at 60k miles. If it has overheated in the past or has dirty coolant, get a full flush service done along with the new thermostat.
How do I know if my thermostat is bad?
Symptoms include temperature spikes, coolant leaks, failure to warm up, overheating, and temperature gauge erratic operation. Have it tested at the first sign of issues.
Can I replace just the thermostat gasket?
It’s not recommended – gasket kits include a new thermostat since disassembly provides access to swap in a new one. Reusing an old thermostat that may fail soon defeats the purpose.
A faulty thermostat is one of the most common causes of overheating and temperature control issues in the Jeep Wrangler. Replacing it as scheduled maintenance every 60k miles provides inexpensive insurance against much costlier engine repairs down the road.
In total you can expect to pay $150-$300 for a complete replacement including new thermostat, gasket, coolant, and 1-2 hours of mechanic labor. The parts themselves run just $20-$65.
You can save significantly on labor costs by taking on this straightforward repair yourself. Just be sure to use the correct procedure for draining and refilling the cooling system. Investing an hour or two into learning how to replace your Jeep’s thermostat pays dividends by keeping your engine running cool and protecting it from costly damage.