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If it is in the center, once warmed up, then suddenly drops to cold then it needs a coolant temp sensor. They're very easy to replace, located in a black plstic coolant flange in the drivers side end of the cylinder head. It will either be black or green, with a connector with four wires coming out of it. It is secured by a whin black plastic clip.
If the temp does not go all the way down, it probably needs a thermostat.
P1296 is a coolant system fault code. It could be the thermostat, or the coolant temp sensor. Either the thermostat is stuck or the coolant temp sensor is bad. The coolant temp sensors have a reputation for going bad.