Why Your Vehicle Heater May Not Be Working
When winter arrives in North Carolina, staying warm becomes a big priority. You definitely don’t want to get stuck driving a car without heat. Here are some of the common issues that can cause a vehicle heater to stop working.
Low Coolant/Antifreeze Level
Coolant does more than just help prevent overheating. If there’s not enough coolant circulating through the engine, this will prevent the vehicle heater from blowing out warm air. The easiest solution to the problem is to top off your coolant. However, a severely low level of antifreeze typically indicates a leak.
The best approach is to have your car inspected by a certified mechanic. They will be able to track down the source of your leak. Getting the problem repaired now will give you one less thing to worry about.
Thermostat Not Working
If your car’s temperature gauge begins to drop toward the cold mark when cruising along the open road, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a bad thermostat. While you can temporarily drive a vehicle with a stuck-open thermostat during the summer, this isn’t the case when Old Man Winter arrives. The performance of your vehicle heater will be poor, thus making daily commutes a lot less comfortable.
Fortunately, new thermostats are relatively inexpensive. However, the ease of installation can vary from one model to the next. To gain access to the thermostat on some cars, several engine parts may need to be removed.
In some instances, the reason the vehicle heater isn’t functioning properly is due to electrical issues. You may notice that no air is being blown from the vents. A technician will ultimately need to inspect the unit.
The culprit could simply be a blown fuse or loose wire. These issues typically aren’t a big challenge to fix. On the other hand, you could also be dealing with a burned-out blower motor.
Heater Core Problems
Modern cars are designed with a heater core, which resembles a small radiator. It’s responsible for dispersing the heat released by the coolant. When the heater core becomes clogged or develops a leak, don’t expect the vehicle heater to work well. If your car begins to use up coolant quickly or has a sweet-smelling odor in the cabin, there’s a good chance the heater core is to blame.
Replacing a heater core is a big repair. Luckily, a blocked heater core passage can often be flushed out. Once the built-up crud is removed, the vehicle heater may begin to function normally.
Faulty HVAC Controls
Broken HVAC controls can prevent your vehicle heater from working. The various buttons and knobs are prone to wearing out over time. This is especially for ones made of plastic.
Many of today’s newer HVAC systems feature a touchscreen display. While these modern units are intuitive, they can be quite expensive to repair when problems occur. A faulty touchscreen may be fixed by simply resetting your car’s onboard computer. This can be done by disconnecting the vehicle battery for about 10 minutes.