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Checking the car radiator and thermostat: How to do it in seconds Checking the car radiator and thermostat: How to do it in seconds

Preventing damage caused by overheating saves a lot of money: that’s why an infrared camera is essential when checking a radiator, a thermostat and much more

April 24, 2023 – 1:24 p.m.

There engine temperature it is one of the main parameters on which its proper functioning depends and it is no coincidence that almost all cars have always had a temperature gauge to check. When the engine gets too hot or, in some cases, stays cold, costly repairs can only be avoided with a single timely check of the radiator, thermostat and cooling system. In this guide we see how and why infrared camera with the right features can help detect and prevent many problems effectively and quickly.


Frequently checking the coolant level and replacing it, when foreseen in the maintenance plan, are the best prerequisites for preventing breakdowns caused by engine temperature. Unlike other more common problems, such as fluid leaks, engine temperature related problems are more troublesome for two main reasons:

  • they leave no visible clues with the naked eye before any damage occurs, if we exclude the illumination of the warning light which leaves little room for intervention while driving;
  • quickly degenerates into failures more expensive to repair.

These are the main reasons why the infrared cameras like the Topdon TC004 which can also be purchased on amazon have become increasingly widespread also in diagnostic operations which in the past was done more empirically or using infrared thermometers. In the next paragraphs we will see better which changes and in which situations they can be very useful.


Infrared thermometer and infrared camera are both tools used to measure temperature remotely, but there are important differences between the two tools:

  • there the infrared camera measures several temperatures in a relatively large area. While the infrared thermometer measures a single temperature over a very limited area. The value that refers to the width of the surface measured with the IR camera is the resolution of the sensor, which in the thermal imager Topdon TC004 And 256×192 pixels;
  • the infrared camera can help locate instantly what are the hot and cold zones of a framed surface, unlike the infrared thermometer. It happens intemperature difference for which the tool was developed, for example from -20 to 350°C, the TC004 is in the ideal range observe heat flows in heating and cooling in areas less accessible by car;
  • the infrared camera can create thermal photo detailed and reliable at a greater safe distance than an infrared thermometer, which must instead be placed a few centimeters from the source of heat or cold;
  • While the infrared thermometer only measures temperature, an infrared camera like the Topdon TC004, can track temperature changes over time and store your photos or videos on SD up to 16 GB or even on PC, to create 3D graphics. Thanks to 5000mAh battery can do it for a long time autonomy up to 12 hours.


With the increased distribution of plug-in electrified cars, a quality infrared camera with an adequate detection range, it will be essential for detecting any thermal leaks from the high voltage battery in time. Today, for example, it is already used by firefighters in the shutdown phases of a lithium battery and in the subsequent quarantine phases. But there are many more situations where an infrared camera It can be useful even with a traditional car. For example:

  • check self radiator or cooling system hoses are at the correct temperature and if there are air pockets to be eliminated after changing the fluid;
  • check the good engine thermostat operationby the temperature of the pipes, before the red overheating indicator light comes on;
  • check air conditioner efficiency and if the temperature is uniform between the different areas of the dashboard and the passenger compartment;
  • control the temperature reached by the moving parts at a safe distance. For example, pulleys and belts which can overheat and deteriorate due to excessive friction;
  • check for overheating of the brake system;
  • TO DO aftermarket wiring harness installations with the certainty of placing them in areas protected from the heat produced during engine operation.

Source : Sicur Auto


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