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O Gorman Auto
Providing the replaced battery and alternator are in good working order and your car is not starting because of a low charge on the battery, you most likely have an electrical draw on the battery from somewhere in the system. The attending technician would have a meter hooked up to the system and would, one by one, disconnect the individual circuits and notice when the draw stops on the meter. Then the technician would isolate the offending item within that circuit, most likely using a wiring schematic.
If your temperature gauge takes a long time to get up to midrange and/or never does, good place to start with is the thermostat. We are assuming your temp gauge is operating correctly, which is probably the case because the inside temp of the car agrees with the low reading of the gauge. There also may be more than one problem. Starting there is a low risk item. You have to get the engine up to operating temperature first and then check inside temp of car before knowing if the rest of the components that supply inside heat are working. If you take the vehicle to an auto repair facility for diagnosis, they will aim their infra-red temp gun at the thermostat housing for a temp reading. That will determine a lot.
If you are going to spend that amount of $, you have to be able to answer the question-What if my transmission goes out next, or what if this thing does nothing but keeps me going back to the repair shop? If a scenario like that comes up, how upset would you be to have just spent the big buck on the head gasket. There is at some point a 'diminishing returns' quotient that occurs. Having said that, if the outside and inside is in pretty good shape and the vehicle has had regular maintenance done on it, people have spent more $ on worse vehicles. It`s either $2k on this one or $3-4k (probably a lot more) at least on something else, and then you have repairs on the next one anyway. That`s why it can depend on the upkeep of this car, because you will know what you have with this vehicle and the next one will be a mystery. If the present vehicle is way behind on mainteance, probably best to skip it.
Subarus can have a lot of heat shielding on them. All heat shields ( on the bottom of exhaust system) were installed with the idea to keep other items from coming in contact with the hottest parts of the exhaust system, ie leaves or any other item you can park on top of or could pick up while driving over it. The shields on the top part of the exhaust are to keep the floor inside the car from getting hot, possibly burning. Those should be left on.
Just some obvious suggestions. Try your other ignition key as that one may be well worn. We`ve seen alot of that. Also, make sure your front wheels are not turned hard all the way to one side. That puts a lot of pressure on the ignition mechanism. If you can see that the wheels on the front of the car are turned hard one way, then proceed as follows; By turning the steering wheel hard the same (yes, the same) way while turning the ignition key at the same time will free it up if that`s your situation.
Thermostat could be the problem, especially back in the day when heater controls were more basic and less hi-tech. First, if your car has a temp gauge and it reads around the middle of the heat range between cold and warm, the t-stat most likely is not the problem. Next, check the coolant. It could be low enough to the point of causing low heat. In that case you wouldn`t see antifreeze in radiator or reservoir. If low, then it can be filled and a shop can find out why it`s low. If neither of these items, it`s time for a skilled tech to take over to diagnose the problem. The control unit itself could be a problem or a related component. A plugged up heater core is a slim possibility, but those don`t happen as often as they used to.
Coming from an auto repair shop, we can honestly say we have not seen a gas line freeze up in many (20) years. The gas blends today have a minimum 10% ethanol (alcohol) already added. In Winter, even more is added. That is probably the biggest reason why your gas mileage falls off so much. We would pass on buying gas line antifreeze.