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How to Replace Thermostat 05-16 Toyota RAV4

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How to Replace Thermostat 05-16 Toyota RAV4

Created on: 2019-09-24

This video shows you how to replace the coolant thermostat on your 05-16 Toyota RAV4. 1A Auto shows you how to do it yourself!

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools


    Jack Stands


    Drain Pan

    Floor Jack

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches


    Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions

    Torque Wrench

  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Pry Bar

    Pocket Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

    14mm Socket

    21mm Socket

    10mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

    Coolant Funnel Set

    Serpentine Belt Removal Tool

    Plastic Fastener Remover

  • Wrenches - Metric

    10mm Wrench

Installation Video
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What's up, guys? I'm Andy from 1A Auto. In this video, I'm going to show you how to replace the thermostat on this 2010 Toyota Rav 4. If you need parts for your vehicle, click the link in the description and head over to

From underneath the vehicle, we need to remove this panel right here. This one was pretty much falling off. There really wasn't much holding it on, but you should have some push pins right here, right here, right here, right here and over there. And then this one didn't have any of these fasteners, but there's some type of screws that go there, so you want to pull those off and then slide this down and slide it out. Get that out of your way.

All right, I want to loosen up the drain on the bottom of the radiator right here. It's below the radiator hose right there. Loosen that up. Make sure you have a drain bucket underneath. Actually it's pretty tight, so I'm going to take some pliers. Now be careful with this because if it breaks, then you're going to have to replace the radiator. If it doesn't move with pliers easily, then don't even bother with it. Just drain it with the hose or something else. There we go.

I'm just going to let that drain slowly. Now I'm going to take the cap off. This is going to make it drain a little bit faster, a little bit faster. I want to pull this trim panel off. Take these little push clips out. What you do as you push down just a little bit on the clip, slide it out. Just use a pocket screwdriver or a pick. We just grabbed that panel, slide it out. Now take a 10 millimeter socket extension and a ratchet. I'm using an electric ratchet. If you don't have an electric one, just use a regular one. Take these two bolts out, one here and there's one on the back right there.

So when you're doing the alternator, if you want, if you didn't want to take the reservoir off completely, just take those two bolts out and you could tip this to the side. Then you don't have to deal with draining the coolant or anything like that. If that's in your way, then just take it out completely like we did. Just going to use some pliers. You can use special hose clamp pliers for this, but regular ones work too with this hose clamp and this one as well, all right?

So we're just trying to break the seal with the hose and slide it off because sometimes you just can't get the hoses off. So if you just take a little pick, get underneath the hose, go all the way around and then you can slide the hose off just like that. And there's the reservoir, be careful.

I'm going to use a 10 millimeter wrench and disconnect the negative terminal on the battery. Slide that off and out of the way. Now I'm going to take the serpentine belt off. I'm going to use this belt tensioner tool. This is a 14 millimeter socket on the tensioner tool. You could probably try to use a 14 millimeter socket and a ratchet if you don't have this tool. And I'm going to turn this clockwise trying to grab the belt off the alternator. Just slide it off. Sometimes it's kind of hard to get it off the alternator so if you can reach down to the water pump pulley, slide it off. That pulley might be a little bit easier. Yep, that's a little easier. Slide that off and loosen up the tension on the tensioner.

Take that off the serpentine belt. You can leave it right there if it's just out of your way. If you want, you can take it off completely. We'll just leave it there. All right, now we want to disconnect the alternator. Pull this cover off right here. If you're having trouble getting the cover off, just get a pick from underneath, pull that off. Then use a 10 millimeter socket and a ratchet. Take this bolt out, take this nut out and it is crucial that you have the battery disconnected while you're doing this, you don't want to arc out. So this nut was really tight, so I'm switching to a longer ratchet. Use a little more leverage. There we go.

Just hold the cable. That'll prevent something from breaking or should prevent it from breaking. Take this nut off and we're going to take this bolt out. This just holds the wiring harness on, right there. It's just the bracket. Use a 10 millimeter socket and ratchet this bolt out just like that and then also this bracket, it's just in my way, so I'm just going to take this bracket off as well. Same 10 millimeter bolt and a ratchet. Then that can be moved. There's a connector right there. I'll disconnect that connector. Should be a lock button on the side. Disconnect that. So you just push down. Just push down right there on both sides. Then you can release that connector. That's released. We want to take this bolt out right here. I'm going to use a 14 millimeter socket and a ratchet.

Take that bolt out, switch to an electric ratchet, grab the bolt, slide it up, and there's another bolt at the base right here. Kind of hard to see but I'm going to use that same 14 millimeter socket and ratchet. Break it free. It's on there really tight. All right, just grab that lower bolt. Be careful if you're using a electric ratchet or an air ratchet. You don't want to get your ratchet stuck against the frame of the vehicle. Pull that bolt out and just grab the alternator. Try to wiggle it a little. If it gets stuck up against this, you can grab a pry bar and try to pry it out a little bit. Let's try that. Carefully pry on this. You don't want to pry too much because you might crack one of the ears or something. Just go back and forth with it. Slide that out. Just get the wiring harness out of your way. Just have to twist this gets past the hoses and slide the alternator out. There it is. All right, now we can access the thermostat. I'm going to use a 10 millimeter socket and ratchet.

Loosen this up and loosen the bottom on up. Now you might be able to access getting the thermostat without taking the alternator out, but the time it took to take the alternator out, it's a lot easier to access the thermostat. Now this nut took the stud out, which is okay. It's not going to affect anything. We'll do the same for this one. Now this one pulled the stud out as well, which is okay. I'm not worried about that. Just grab the housing and slide it off and there's the thermostat. Just put the housing to the side, grab the thermostat, and you can use some pliers to grab it if it doesn't come out, just grab the thermostat and pull it up. You might want to put a drain bucket underneath there. There's the thermostat.

All right. I'm going to take a new gasket, install it on the thermostat, on the new thermostat. And keep in mind when you're installing the thermostat, sometimes there's these little breathers, you can see it in there and you want that to the top. And what's going to happen with that is it's going to let air bubbles through that so that it can bleed the system a lot easier. You can see that on the old one right there. So this new one just has it in a different location, but does the same thing.

All right? Just want to take a rag, clean any of that surface area. And same with on the housing. Just take a rag, wipe it down. Make sure there's no excess gasket material or anything, which it looks good here. Take the thermostat now. You want to install it with this side, the spring side towards the engine. You don't want to install it backwards. Normally you can't install it backwards, but just be careful and we have that breather at the top. There you go. Put the housing right over just like that. We'll take these studs with the nuts already on them, get that started and then get the one that started underneath. Take the 10 millimeter socket and a ratchet and tighten these up.

Now I'm going to take a 10 millimeter socket and a torque wrench and torque this to 84 inch pounds. Make sure you're on inch pounds, not foot pounds. For the bottom one, I'm going to need an extension. Pull that dip stick out of my way. There we go and it's tight. All right, take the alternator, slide it back in position. Move these wires out of your way and try to get those two ears lined up top first. Take the bolt, just wiggle it back and forth. Just trying to get this bolt started. Once you get that started then I'll try to get the lower one in. Okay, so that one started. Take the lower bolt, it's going to go in down here and just slide it up a little bit and get those threads started. Take a 14 millimeter socket and a ratchet. Tighten these bolts up. So let's go back with a hand ratchet and just snug them up. That's good, that's good. I'm going to take these bolts and install this bracket right here, and then there's another bracket. It goes right there.

Get those brackets started, take a 10 millimeter socket and a ratchet. Tighten them up. Tighten that up. Take this electrical connector, plug that into the alternator, lock it in place. Then you have this positive terminal. It's going to go on the alternator. It is keyed, so try and get that to line up with the keys. Pull that cover to the side. And this one just fell off. So let's put it on after. Install the nut now because it's a little bit important, I'm going to torque this. I'm going to use a 10 millimeter socket and a torque wrench and torque this nut to 87 inch pounds. Make sure you're on inch pounds, not foot pounds because you don't want to torque this too much or over torque it. You could snap that off, so that's pretty important.

Take this cover, just slide it over the wire first like that and then cover it up. Right now I have to get the belt back on. Now you want to get, make sure the belt goes around the crank pulley and around the AC compressor first. Now this is where it will be easier if you have the tire off and that panel off on the side. All right. I raised and supported the vehicle. I'm going to remove the wheel. I'm using a 21 millimeter socket and an air gun. If you don't have an air gun, you can use a breaker bar. Just crack the lug nuts for you while the vehicle is still on the ground.

Now I want to take the tire off. This one's stuck on there pretty good. So I'm going to put one monk mat on so the tire doesn't go flying. All right, so this tire's on there pretty good. So what I'm going to do is leave one lug nut on there and just hit it on the backside of the tire with a hammer. Break it free. Reason you leave the lug nut so the tire doesn't go flying. Take the lug nut off, pull the tire off.

I want to take this push pin out here. There is one here and normally there's probably one here. This vehicle doesn't have that. I'm just going to use a trim tool. Pop these out, pop the center out first. Pop those out just like that. We can take this panel off, slide it towards the back of the car, slide it out of the way.

All right, so we tried to get the belt on from up top and it's very difficult. So we're going to go from underneath the vehicle. This is definitely the way to go. It's a lot easier. Make sure the belt goes over the alternator up top and I'm going to have it come around the water pump. Make sure it's around the crank shaft pulley right there and there's some little nubs right here, so make sure the belt goes above those nubs. All right, that's good. Then I'm going to hold it right over the AC compressor. Take the tensioner tool at the 14 millimeter socket on it. Loosen up the tension, slide it over the AC compressor, just like that.

Loosen up the tensioner and just double check. Make sure all the ribs in the belts are in with the ribs on the pulleys and they look good. All right, we'll just take this panel, slide this back in position like that. Take the push pins, put push pins back in there, right here, here, and then if you had that one, put that one in there and then you can put the tire back on.

Install the tire, take the lug nuts, install the lug nuts. Now I lowered the vehicle down to the ground so that the tire's just touching the ground and I'm going to torque these with a 21 millimeter socket and a torque wrench to 76 foot pounds. And I'm going to do this in a star pattern. The reason you do it in the star pattern is so that the wheel gets tightened down evenly. And then I always like to go around again just to double check and you're good to go.

All right, well I'll just slide this coolant reservoir hose on the bottom and then this one goes on the top, just like that. Take some pliers or some hose clamp pliers and reattach these hose clamps in the right position. And I like to, if you can see where it was on the hose, try to put the hose clamp in the exact same spot that it was. You can see where it's indented. Generally, that makes it seal a lot better if it goes back the way it came off. That right there, just like that. Perfect. Take the two bolts. One goes right there and one goes in here. I'm going to use a 10 millimeter socket extension and ratchet, tighten these bolts down and then just snug it up. Same with this back one.

There we go. Make sure that coolant drain is closed all the way. Just grab it and just give it a twist. You can try loosening it and just snug it up. You don't want to tighten it too tight, just finger tight and then maybe just a little bit more so that's good. So if you have this panel, just line this up, right like that. Just position that there. So if you have the screws or bolts that go in there, put those back in and any of the push pins go in there. There is a couple of other spots there and there. Right there and there, all right. Now you're going to connect the negative terminal on the battery. Take a 10 millimeter socket, I mean 10 millimeter wrench, tighten this down, snug that down and then just make sure wiggle it and make sure it's nice and tight and then you just take this cover. We'll just slide this back in position, make sure everything lines up, and now we're just going to have to reset these pushpins. Just push this tab back so the centerpiece is popping out like that, so slide it into position and then push the button down so it's flush. Do that for all of them.

All right. Now we're going to take this coolant funnel and this for this particular vehicle, I don't need any adapters. I can just put this coolant funnel here. This funnel comes with different adapters. We actually sell this at if you want one, and we're going to take the appropriate coolant. You're going to want to check the owner's manual and make sure you use the right coolant for the vehicle. And we'll fill it up.

Then as you fill this up, it may take a little while, so you might find that the reservoir completely fills up with coolant and then just let the vehicle sit for a little while. It's going to have to bleed itself into the engine. There may be some air pockets, so just be patient, fill it up and let it bleed. As you can see that it's about two minutes later and it drained back down. So just keep doing that. Fill it up, let it sit for a minute and watch it drain.

So once you've noticed that the level stays at one level for a little while, what we can do is go over to the radiator hose. We'd give it a squeeze, see if you can get any air bubbles out of it. See if you can get it to bleed a little bit more. It looks pretty good right there. Then what you're going to want to do is start the vehicle, let it run, put the heat on low speed and monitor the coolant temperature. Make sure the coolant temperature does not get over 210 degrees or into the red zone. And as long as you feel heat, it should be good, and then you're going to shut the vehicle off for a little while. And then once it cools down, recheck your level and adjust accordingly. Take the funnel out, take the cap, put the cap back on, lock it in place.

Thanks for watching. Visit for quality auto parts shipped to your door. The place for DIY auto repair. And if you enjoyed this video, please click the subscribe button.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Pick
  • Drain Pan
  • Floor Jack

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Pliers
  • Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Torque Wrench

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar
  • Pocket Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 14mm Socket
  • 21mm Socket
  • 10mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • Coolant Funnel Set
  • Serpentine Belt Removal Tool
  • Plastic Fastener Remover

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 10mm Wrench

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