Hi there, I have a 2000 ford focus and the other day while driving down the road the yellow exclamation mark light on the dashboard came on, shortly followed by the yellow engine light and a feeling of a drop in the power of the car.
I drove it the extra half mile back to my house. After a couple of hours I topped up the engine oil and the coolant (the coolant reservoir looked completely empty - I haven't had the car serviced for quite a while and didn't even know what coolant was until I googled what might have been wrong with my car. Mind you, the same garage got my car ready for mot 3 months ago - would they have topped up coolant then?)
Doing all that made the exclamation mark light turn off but not the engine light. I phoned the local mechanic and he told me to drive it down the road to him - literally the end of the street 1/4 mile or so)
He's since told me that the water was low because the thermostat housing was leaking, that the head gasket needs replaced and the timing belt kit (or just the belt) needs replaced.
He's told me it's goina cost me £500 to get the lot fixed. £500s a lot of money for me at the moment. I don't know this mechanic well, only been to him a couple of times before. Before that I used to take the car to the ford dealership but they always seem to 'get the arm in'.
What I want to know is how likely is it that the head gasket is blown? I read somewhere that you might need to drive with that engine light on for quite a bit before the gasket blows. I may have been out of coolant for a while but surely a light would come on, or the engine would overheat and a light would come on?
thanks for any advice