Does A Bad Thermostat HAVE To Be Fixed To Drive

Posted in Cooling Perfomance | Asked on Jul 3, 2010

I have a 1996 Ford Escort LX Wagon. It is an automatic and it has 120k miles. The temp gauge reads cold and the check engine light stays on. When I turn on the heat, I hear a rattling sound. Is this the thermostat? Could I just be low on coolant?

Main question – Would a bad thermostat absolutely HAVE to be fixed to drive?

There are 2 Answers for "Does A Bad Thermostat HAVE To Be Fixed To Drive"

  1. Vipassana says:

    The thermostat has basically nothing to do with your heat.

    This is NOT the same as a house thermostat.

    If you hear rattling when you turn on the heat, it’s a problem with your blower, not your thermostat.

    If you had looked up what a car thermostat was, you would have already known this….try searching in the future.

  2. Hyway says:

    I will try to answer your main question first…..What cools the engine? the engine OIL….. what maintains the temperature? the COOLING system. Yes you must keep the cooling system of the vehicle in good working order so the engine itself will maintain a proper operating temperature. Also in your vehicle and especially newer vehicles engine temp readings are tied into the computer and the emissions systems….If the engine runs a higher temp? the computer will want to rich en the fuel mixture wasting fuel and if the engine runs cold? the computer will want to lean the fuel mixture which basically will raise the temp and can cause serious damage to pistons and valves due to a too lean air/fuel mixture.

    I would suggest that if you don’t have the correct tools to scan the vehicles computer? I would take it to your local Auto Zone, Pep Boys or local repair shop you have a re-pore with and have them run a system check and see why your “check engine light” is on. It could be something simple as a sending unit bad but? if you leave it unchecked? simple things cause big problems and can cost lots of money to repair.

    Now? as for the rattling sound…..do you hear the same sound if you turn the heating/cooling system on and instead of turning on the heat? turn it to cool or vent? What do you hear if the system isn’t turned on? If this is a sound you hear inside the vehicle? could be the fan/blower unit or again something simple as leaves or debris in the duct work rolling around. Some heating/cooling ducts in vehicles have a “clean out” that will allow you to remove a cover and check to see if there is something floating around in there. Again your local repair shop or Ford dealer should be able to help point this area out to you.

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