What to Do When Your Car’s Heating Isn’t Working?

Published: 10/22/2010 by AutoShopit

What to Do When Your Car’s Heating Isn’t Working?

During the cold winter times, you’re very thankful that automotive engineers designed your car with its heating system. It functions like the air conditioning system in the summer, only that blows warm air. More than any other, the winter season is not the perfect time for your car’s heating system to malfunction or blow cold rather than warm air. Your car’s heating system is made up of different parts that work together to provide the amount of heat needed by the car’s passengers, especially when the winter wind is blowing outside. The most important heating component is the heater core. It looks and functions like the radiator and acts as heat exchanger by converting the heat from the engine to heat to warm the car’s interior. Other car heating system parts are blower motor, thermostat, heater hoses, heater control valve, and coolant.

Then suddenly, your heater does not work properly. There are many heating problems caused by malfunctions in one or more parts in the whole heating system. There are some problems which you can fix on your own with simple tools. As a wise driver, you’ll do some series of checks first before you panic and drive your car to the nearest mechanic. Want to find out why your heater is making you feel cold than warming you? Here’s a list of what you must do.

  1. Check if your radiator is low in coolant. It is a requirement of the heating system to work as it usually does to have enough coolant. Low coolant levels lead to formation of air pockets in the heater core and heater hoses blocking the flow of warm air.
  2. Feel if your heater hoses are hot to touch. Using a glove, feel the temperature of the inlet and outlet heater hoses. High or hot temperature signifies that the coolant is circulating properly and cool hoses means restricted heater core. A simple repair would be flushing the heater. If it doesn’t work, heater core replacement may be necessary.
  3. Test your thermostat. You can do this by starting a cold engine and inspect the upper radiator hose. If your thermostat is stuck in the open, you will immediately feel the coolant in the hose upon starting the cold engine. Normally, the coolant is felt moving through the hose when the cold engine starts to warm up.
  4. See if your heater core is clogged with crud from the cooling system. This serious problem is usually prevented with regular flushing of your heater. The only solution is buying a replacement heater core.
  5. Check if there is a blower motor problem. When you flip the blower motor, you should hear it blowing air. If you can’t hear anything, you can suspect a blown fuse, broken motor, or electrical and wiring problems.
  6. Look for pinched heater hoses. This is perhaps one of the easiest to troubleshoot. Simply un-pinch your heater hoses to solve your heating troubles.
  7. Check the condition of other related parts. Maybe your water pump is weak and not circulating the coolant throughout the whole system or maybe your cooling fan is doing extra works in over-cooling your engine.
  8. Go to your trusted radiator repair shop and mechanic. If your heating problem needs a major repair solution, it must be done by a professional auto mechanic that specializes in heating problems.

A smart vehicle owner does his series of diagnosing techniques to know what’s wrong with his car. It is your best defense against needless car services to save your hard-earned money.  Remember to check your heating before the cold mornings of winter arrive so you don't get caught out in the cold.  Need help fixing your car's heating system then use our directory to find a local car repair shop that you can trust.

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