I have a 2001 ZX3 that is giving me problems with the heat. I'm not getting
hot air, just cold out unless I've been driving for at least 10-15 minutes.
The temperature gauge says the engine is at normal temp so it's not because
the engine hasn't warmed up yet. At when I am getting warm air but come to
a light and am idling the air begins to turn cold again. It's very cold
here in Chicago and I can't put up with this much longer.
I guess the real question is, is it time to trade the old girl in or is
she worth saving? Anyone have a clue what my problem may be?
Any help is greatly appreciated.
There is absolutely no reason to get rid of your Focus just for this
problem. You need one of the many radiator/cooling system shops found in all
modern cities. A power flush and refill will probably do it.
With the engine not running (so it's quiet), turn the heater temp knob
quickly in each direction, and listen for the muffled "thump" of the door
closing and opening. Might have a disconnected operating cable. Another
way is when it's operating, turn the fan to high. Then operate the temp
knob to full and down. If it's working, you will feel resistance to turning
it down due to the air flow resisting the flapper moving.
No reason to get a new car just because of this problem.
From your description it sounds like your thermostat is broken,
it doesn't close anymore, so it takes ages to get warm air out of
the heating. Shouldn't be expensive to get fixed at the next Ford
If temp is getting to normal I would think it's not the thermostat, as
the car shouldn't get hot, or at least nowhere near normal, I had a car
several years ago, if it was about 1 quart down in coolant, you got
absolutly no heat, and when it gets to -20F thats not good,and engine
temp was up to normal.
Well I thought the thermostat (when working normally) stayed closed thus
reducing the flow of coolant through the radiator, keeping more heat in
the engine until it reached temperature, at which time it opened up
allowing more coolant into the radiator, and cooling the engine.
Now if it's stuck open then you would have a large flow of coolant
through the radiator even when the engine is cool/cold, you would be
losing heat through the radiator when you don't want to, and the engine
won't heat up.
Thats not to say it won't build up heat it just won't reach full
temperature, especially in chicago, they are getting highs around
0 to -5C right now.
I may be wrong though.
Not quite, there are two coolant loops, switched together from
the thermostat. The symptoms you'll encounter if the thermostat
doesn't close anymore are more or less exactly what the OP is
Well I guess I started some sort of a debate with my question huh? It feels
good to hear that 55,000 miles is nothing. Now I still have addressed the
problem yet so still am not sure if it's the coolant or the thermostat. I
don't know which one to root for.
Addressing one of the posts, my temperature gauge works perfectly fine in
the car. It reads cold when it's cold and normal after a little time
running. The gauge never goes over normal and the engine is not
overheating. I am going to check the coolant tommorow (temperature was -1
this morning and didn't want to deal with a cold drive to work so I got a
ride). I will let you know what happens.
Not that my opinion's worth much, but I'd bet against the thermostat given
a normal response by your gauge. The low coolant/plugged heater coil/bad
flapper in the dashboard thoughts others mentioned would be my candidates.
Thanks Michael for your comments. I asked a newsgroup because I'm a single
mother who knows absolutely nothing about cars. I honestly didn't even
know the coolant had to do with the heat, I honestly thought coolant just
affected the air conditioning. I'm sorry if I botherd you with my
Thank you though everyone else and VJC, it seems that I do have a leak. A
coworker pointed out a fluid in my parking space and it does appear to be
coolant. I suppose I'll just have to live with it until I can afford to
No problem, perhaps I'm presuming to much prior knowledge,
I'd get the problem fix asap and keep a close eye onto the
temperature gauge. The engine can easily suffer from permanent
damage if getting to hot, which is pretty likely to be far more
expensive to fix then a simple leak.
In addition, depending on your country you are facing punishment,
because the coolant fluid is hazardous if it leaks into the
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