My car’s heater isn’t working! What’s wrong?

Our winters in Ft. Collins, Colorado can be fairly harsh. The last thing you want is to start your vehicle to find out the heater isn’t working. If there is no air or cold air blowing out of the vents when you turn the heater on, there’s a problem with the heating system. In this blog post, we will address the items that could be causing the problem with your car’s heater. You will also learn how to maintain your vehicles heating and cooling system.

The heater in your vehicle is actually part of the cooling system. This system is designed to circulate a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze (a/k/a coolant) to the engine where it absorbs the heat generated during the combustion process. The cooling system then circulates the heated water/antifreeze mixture back to the radiator where it is cooled by the air before it flows back through the system. The heater core looks like a small radiator that’s located in the dashboard of your vehicle. As the heated coolant flows through the heater core, a fan blows the air into the cabin of your vehicle making it warm.

What causes the heating system to not work?

Here are some of the issues that can cause the heating system to not work properly:

  1. The system doesn’t have enough coolant. It’s important to regularly check the vital engine fluids, especially if you have an older vehicle. If you notice that the coolant level is low, it’s a good indicator that there is a leak somewhere in the cooling system. Add the appropriate amount of water and antifreeze and then bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop to have the cooling system repaired.
  2. The heater core may contain a pocket of air. Warm coolant passes into the heater core and after circulating through it flows back out via an outlet hose. If you were to feel these hoses, they should both be warm. If the outlet hose is not warm to the touch, a pocket of air could be lessening the flow of water coming out of the heater core.
  3. The thermostat is faulty. If the thermostat is bad, it could be preventing the engine from heating up to the proper temperature which translates into a car heater that doesn’t blow hot air.
  4. The heater control valve is defective. The heater control valve opens up to allow the hot coolant to flow into the heater core. When it’s defective, several things could result. The heater may not produce warm air, it could leak coolant, and/or operation of the heater can be erratic.
  5. Debris in the cooling system has clogged the heater core. When debris from the cooling system ends up clogging the heater core, you will have to have it replaced.
  6. The blower motor isn’t working. If the blower motor doesn’t work, it could be the result of electrical problems or the blower motor has failed. If this happens, you will not feel any air coming into the cabin when the blower is turned on.
  7. There could be a kink in a heater hose.

How can I prevent car heating system problems?

The answer to this question is simple… by properly maintaining the cooling system, the heater core will continue to work properly. Have the coolant flushed and replaced on a regular schedule. If you allow the coolant to get old, it won’t be able to adequately prevent the engine from overheating. Parts will also undergo more wear, tear and corrosion. Replace worn belts and hoses before they break and have any leaks repaired right away.

Our certified auto technicians can assist you in this area. When you bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop in Ft Collins, CO, we conduct a 25-point courtesy inspection on the major engine systems. If we notice a problem with your cooling system, we will alert you so you can have it taken care of before it becomes a major repair issue.

The best way to keep all the components of your car running properly is to trust its care and any repairs to the automotive professionals at Campus Repair. Give us a call or stop by today.

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