Stay Warm this Winter by Fixing Your Car’s Heater

Like all auto parts, one or more of the components within your car, truck or SUV’s heating system will eventually wear out. While you may suffer a failing heating system during the spring or summer months, it’s likely something you won’t notice until those chilly winter days roll around.

Here are some details about the main components within your vehicle’s heating system as well as common signs which indicate they may be failing and/or in need of replacement.

  • Blower Motor (or Heater Motor) – The blower motor is essentially the heart of your car’s heating system, and is typically located just behind the dashboard. Its main function is to push air through the vents of your vehicle’s heating system. Without this component, your vehicle would not be able to circulate heated or cooled air, resulting in an uncomfortable interior environment. Common signs of blower motor problems include:
    • Lack of air coming out of the vents
    • Air circulation getting stuck on one speed
    • Heater fails to function on certain speeds/settings
  • Heater Controls (or Heater Control Valve) – Located on the dashboard, your car’s heater controls enable you to adjust temperature and direct heated/cooled air in various directions. These components do not typically malfunction, but they can become broken over years of frequent use. Signs of failing heater control valves often include:
    • Leaking coolant
    • Inconsistent heater behavior
    • A heating system that doesn’t work
  • Heater Core (or Heater Matrix) – Typically located within some sort of heater housing behind the dashboard, the heater core carries out your vehicle’s heating and defrosting functions. The heater core passes coolant through two heater hoses to help prevent your engine from overheating or your windows from fogging up while the heater is on. Potential signs suggesting your heater matrix is blocked and/or malfunctioning include:
    • Engine becomes overheated
    • Lack of heat coming from heater
    • Wet spot in the passenger-side foot well
    • The inside of your vehicle suddenly fogs up
    • A noticeable sweet, humid aroma due to leaking coolant
  • Heater Hoses – As mentioned above, your vehicle’s heater hoses are responsible for circulating coolant from the rear of the engine to the heater matrix located behind the dashboard, helping prevent your car from overheating or fogging up while using the heater. Though these hoses are made of heavy-duty materials, they can leak, wear out and start to have issues over time. Signs of a failing heater hose often include:
    • Leaking coolant
    • Engine becomes overheated
    • Visible cracks and/or dryness in the hoses
  • Radiator – Similar to the heater core, the radiator helps prevent your vehicle’s engine from overheating. How exactly does it work? To put it simply, engines produce heat while running; coolant then absorbs that heat, transports it through the radiator to be cooled off, then the coolant is passed back to the engine.

In addition to playing a key role in keeping your engine from overheating, the radiator is an essential component of your cooling system; so you’ll certainly want to ensure it’s functioning optimally year-round. Common signs of radiator problems include:

  • Leaking coolant
  • Engine becomes overheated
  • Low coolant light comes on and/or you have to keep refilling the coolant tank
  • Visible sludge in the radiator (normal coolant should be yellow, green or red – rusty/oily colored coolant indicates a problem)

Think Your Car’s Heating System May Be Failing?

The good news is you can find all of these parts for your vehicle’s heating system and so much more at Bessler’s U Pull & Save – the Midwest’s leading auto salvage yard! To get an idea of just how extensive and affordable our recycled auto parts selection is, we encourage you to search our online inventory or look over our parts price list today.