I have a 2002 Ford Escort; single overhead cam; 130,000 miles; It runs great. Coolant flushed every 25,000 miles. Thermostat was never changed. The engine runs cool. These motors can drop a valve seal, some say due to overheating. I'm afraid to change the thermostat because the bolts are shear off on the head. Can I continue running original thermostat? I've seen others safely run them to over 200,000 miles.
Yes, if you don't have any problems. If the thermostat has a problem, it will shut. If it shuts, then your temperature gauge will get behind and you'll have to change it; or it will stick right open and your temperature will actually become too cool.
As long as it runs okay, you can do it. But for the bolts themselves, what you can do is spray them with WD-40. A lot of times, when you spray with WD-40 and soak them for a day or two, they will come out as nice and easy and you won't have to worry about them breaking after. As long as you get them nice and lubricated, you won't have to worry about it.
If you need help replacing the thermostat, have a technician, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your location to perform the task for you.
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