With the frigid temperatures we have had in the past couple of weeks, many people are noticing that the heater in their car is not working at 100 percent.

Or they expect their car to be instantly warm and cozy like the home they just left.

Our vehicle heater is designed to warm the passenger compartment. The heater uses heat that is generated during normal engine operation that causes the coolant or antifreeze to get hot. The radiator is designed to expel excess heat. However, the hot coolant also gives us the opportunity to use some of this heat to be directed to the heater core. The engine cooling system uses a water pump to circulate liquid coolant (a proper mix of antifreeze and water), from the engine thru hoses to the radiator and heater core. Once the heat from the coolant has been utilized, it is circulated thru the engine again to absorb more heat. The heater core is like a mini radiator that is installed generally in the dash or near the firewall of the vehicle. The heated coolant circulates thru the tubes of the heater core, and the heater fan blows air across those tubes and through the little fins encasing the tubes and directs warm air through the heating vents of the cabin of your vehicle.

The controls of the heater system vary in most cars. There are primarily two designs, a Manual Control System and an Automatic Temperature Control System. The Manual Control System requires manual adjustment from the operator or passengers in the car, to keep the cabin at the desired temperature. The Automatic Temperature Control System, is a computerized management system, that is designed to keep the cabin at a selected temperature or even split the settings for the driver and passenger compartments. The heater control system of a vehicle runs the blower motor, blend doors, and temperature operation.

Some of the common problems we see when a vehicle heater does not blow warm air are:

1) Low coolant level on a vehicle due to a coolant leak.
2) Thermostat that is stuck open.
3) Plugged or leaking heater core.
4) Heater blower that is not functioning.
5) Blend doors that are not functioning properly.

If the heater in your vehicle is not working properly, we recommend having it checked out by your trusted repair facility. If it is related to the engine cooling system, other issues can occur if you run your vehicle low or without the proper mix of coolant. Especially in extremely cold or hot outside temperatures. If you have any questions or comments feel free to call us at 503-465-2926 or email us at [email protected].

Posted in

Return to Blog