Thu, 07 Dec 2023

What Does It Mean When Your Car Heater Won't Work?

09 Apr 2023, 20:10 GMT+10

The average winter temperature in Hawaii can be as high as 67.4 degrees Fahrenheit to as low as 2.6 F in Alaska. If your car heater fails to work, it can leave you shivering and wondering what went wrong. The proper heater keeps you warm and cozy during frigid conditions.

It also ensures that your windshield remains clear of frost and fog. So, what does it mean when your car heater won't work? Keep reading as we dive into the common causes.

Understanding the Car Heater System

The car heater system works by utilizing the heat generated by the engine. Then it transfers it to the cabin through a series of components. These components include the following:

  • Heater core
  • Blower motor
  • Heater control valve
  • Various hoses and ducts

Your car's engine generates heat as it operates. The cooling system helps to maintain the right temperature. The coolant absorbs the heat from the engine and flows through the heater core.

The blower motor pushes warm air through the heater core and into your vehicle's cabin. This process provides you with much-needed warmth.

Thermostat Problems

The thermostat helps regulate the coolant flow between the engine and the radiator. When the engine reaches a specific temperature, the thermostat opens. This process allows the coolant to circulate and maintain the optimal temperature.

If the thermostat is stuck closed, it prevents the coolant from reaching the heater core. This issue causes your car heater to blow cold air. The car won't heat, and the engine temperature gauge reads higher than average.

Heater Core Issues

The heater core transfers heat from the engine coolant to the cabin. As the coolant flows through, it releases heat. Then it blows into the cabin by the blower motor.

A common issue with heater cores is clogging caused by debris or rust in the cooling system. This can restrict coolant flow, preventing it from producing heat. A leaking heater core can also cause a sweet smell in the cabin and foggy windows.

Low Coolant Level

Coolant helps maintain the proper temperature of your car's engine. A low level can lead to insufficient heat transfer, resulting in a car heater that won't work. This deficiency may be due to the following:

  • Leaks
  • Evaporation
  • Improper maintenance

To resolve this issue, top off your coolant to the recommended level. Then check for leaks or damage to the cooling system. Monitor it to avoid car heater and engine issues.

Malfunctioning Blower Motor

The blower motor circulates air through the car's heating system. If it fails, your car heater won't work, and you won't feel any air coming from the vents.

Common blower motor problems include worn brushes, faulty resistors, or electrical issues. You may notice a weak airflow or none at all. You can repair the motor in some cases, while a replacement is necessary for others.

Faulty Control Valve

The heater control valve regulates coolant flow to the heater core. It opens and closes as needed to control the temperature inside the cabin.

A faulty valve may be stuck open or closed, resulting in either no heat or constant heat.

Airlock in the Cooling System

An airlock can lead to a car heater that won't work, as it prevents the coolant from reaching the heater core. To resolve this, you can try bleeding the cooling system. This process releases the trapped air by opening the system's radiator cap.

Once the trapped air has escaped, you should see a steady coolant flow. If the airlock persists, consult a mechanic for further diagnosis.

Damaged or Worn Hoses

Hoses are essential for transporting coolant between the engine, radiator, and heater core. Over time, it can become damaged, brittle, or worn, leading to leaks and reduced coolant flow.

Inspect this for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, bulges, or discoloration. If you find any issues, replace the damaged hose to restore your car heater's function.

Car AC Issues Affecting Heater Performance

The car's AC system and heater often share components, such as the blower motor and vents. If your AC has issues, it could affect the performance of your heater.

If it is stuck on or not switching between heating and cooling modes, it could cause the heater to blow cold air.

Electrical Problems

Electrical problems can cause car heater issues by reducing or eliminating heat. Check for blown fuses, damaged wiring, or loose connections.

If you need help troubleshooting this, consult a mechanic.

Propex Heaters: An Alternative Solution

Propex heaters use propane as fuel and can provide reliable warmth. This tool continues to work even if you have a faulty car heater.

It's also energy-efficient, quiet, and easy to install.

Preventative Maintenance

Inspect the hoses, thermostat, and coolant levels to avoid car heater issues. Address any visible damage or leaks to prevent further complications.

Schedule regular maintenance with a qualified mechanic. Regular servicing can identify and resolve potential issues before they become significant problems.

Cost of Car Heater Repairs

The cost of a car repair varies depending on the specific issue and the model of your vehicle. Replacing a thermostat or topping off coolant is inexpensive.

Getting a new heater core or fixing electrical issues can be more costly. Always get a quote from a reputable mechanic before proceeding with repairs.

Safety Considerations

Driving with a malfunctioning car heater can be hazardous. Foggy windows, reduced visibility, and freezing temperatures can impact your safety.

Address these issues immediately to ensure your safety.

Car Heater is Broken: Should You Worry?

If you're experiencing car heater issues, understanding the common causes can help. Regular maintenance and inspections are vital to preventing these problems.

Whether it's a thermostat issue or a malfunctioning blower motor, address the problem. Don't wait; you want to ensure your comfort and safety. For more insights on cars, check out our other blog posts today.

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