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2001 Ford Escort trouble

This weekend I had to have my 2001 Ford Escort towed because it wouldn’t start. After fixing a battery terminal, the starter would turn over, but the engine itself wouldn’t start. I called the mechanic this morning, and they said it was a blown head gasket. Would that prevent the car from starting in the first place?

It might. Many cars with head gasket leaks still run. But if the leak is bad enough, or if the leak damaged the engine enough then it might not run.

If you want a second opinion from people who can’t look at the car, then you need to provide a lot more info. How many miles are on the car? How was it doing before it wouldn’t start? Was it running well up until then? What is the story w/ the battery terminal? - when it wouldn’t start is it that it wouldn’t crank at all? What did the mechanic base his/her diagnosis on? Stuff like that. So far there isn’t any way to tell you anything.

How many miles are on the car?

over 100,000

How was it doing before it wouldn’t start? Was it running well up until then?

It was doing okay, other than failing to start a few times and being fixed with a quick jiggle of the terminal.

What is the story w/ the battery terminal? - when it wouldn’t start is it that it wouldn’t crank at all?

See above; the terminal was old and worn, overdue for a replacement anyway. Before replacing it (and when I’d need to jiggle it), the car wouldn’t crank at all, just make a clicking sound and all internal power would cut out.

What did the mechanic base his/her diagnosis on?

Uncertain. He just said the head gasket was blown and it would cost $1,500 to get into the engine, clean everything out, and fix/replace the gasket.

I find it really unlikely that the car was running fine one day, wouldn’t start the next b/c of a bad battery terminal, and then suddenly has a head gasket problem so bad that the car won’t run. Before this non-starting event were you losing any coolant? Other than during engine warm up did you ever get white smoke out of the tailpipe?

Do you know and trust this mechanic? Either way, ask how they arrived at a head gasket. Then get a second opinion from someone who can actually look at the car.