How do you know when the thermostat goes bad?

The thermostat controls engine coolant temperature at a predetermined degree.
If the stat is stuck open you would not see the temp gauge rise to normal and the heat coming out of your heater would be warm at best. This condition would not damage your engine. If the stat is stuck closed you would see more violent results such as temp gauge pegging hot and pinging noises coming from engine.
This condition could and probably would cause serious damage to engine in a very short time.

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