I've been looking around online to see if replacing the thermostat is something I can do. Is this a complex job? Some sites say you need to drain the rad & some say no. Not sure if this is something I can do or should be a shop only job?
Drain the radiator and you can reuse the coolant if it's reusable. Don't drain the radiator into a container and what ever comes out goes all over the surface your working on. I'm not sure if this is a job you can do or not. I have no idea what your capable of doing or what tools you have to do the job.
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the controls for the heater are defective or the heater core is disconnected
or a bit more information might be helpful.
o.k., so the gauge works, was that what you were trying to determine in the first place? Can you feel heat in various hoses? the bigger ones that go from the engine to the radiator? the smaller ones that go to the heater?
What happens when you move the heat control lever?
If you are looling for heat to come out anywhere how about does it come through the defrosters?
Does the car have A/C?, Does it work?