Changing Thermostat in 2003 Buick Century

Our mechanic says changing the thermostat in our 2003 Buick Century sedan (3.1 engine) will cost $260 (including the thermostat and seal at $23). Is $240 labor reasonable for this? Is the thermostat really that hard to get at in this car?

I can’t say for sure, but it is certainly possible. I have a '00 Olds Silhouette with a 3.4 - not the same but similar. The actual procedure calls for pulling a chunk of the exhaust manifold since the thermostat housing is wedged between it & the motor. (Though I did manage to wiggle mine in & out of there w/out pulling the exhaust crossover).

If you want to look over the procedure (or at least a procedure for it) you can check out Autozone’s online repair guides. It will tell you the steps involved. I can’t link it b/c you’d need to sign up the & login (fast & unobtrusive).

3 hours labor sounds like a lot.

However, some thermostats are hard to access, if this is the case, that may be the reason.

You can follow the top rad hose down to the end where the t-stat is to see for yourself.

Thanks - Autozone’s site is generally quite helpful. In this case, not sure which variation of the engine I’m looking for until my wife gets home with the car. My sense, tho, is that part of the manifold cover or something has to be removed.
I’ll be checking it out further

Thanks, Roadrunner. I think their rate has gone up to $100, so we’d be talking 2.4 hours; the amount of time they charge is usually book rate. In any case, as I mentioned above, I need to take a look when the car gets home tonight and see just where it’s at. I know it’s reachable in the LeSabre but apparently not so much with this one.

Yes, the thermostat in this car is quite difficult to get at, sounds right.

Thanks. sigh - I remember an old Dodge stake-bed truck we had in which engine compartment I could literally stand while I worked. Nothing like today’s space-saving cars

My brother tells me that on his old Grand Prix (early 90’s) he could change the thermostat by removing the radiator cap. (I’m still not sure about that, but that’s what he said.

You need to be sure that the thermostat NEEDS to be changed. What are the symptoms?

Thanks, Hellokit. I agree that’s the first thing to be sure of; I’m convinced it did need changed - turned out to be totally stuck. Air from blower was getting slower and slower to warm up from cold; was taking 8-10 miles to get slightly warm. Plenty of coolant. Mechanic, who is reputable, changed it. Since it was past time, also did coolant flush. Heat is working fine now, but the labor floored me. Xebadaih indicates the thermostat is particularly hard to get at on this car, which would fit. I don’t usually have time to work on something like this, but for a couple of hundred dollars, I’ll sure think about it in the future.

To be a littler clearer – the coolant flush charge was not a part of the cost for the thermostat change.