It is that time of year when one of the most important things to you is probably heat!!! I know one of the first things I do on cold winter mornings before heading out is starting my car and turning the heat on. I let it sit a good 10 minutes so that when I get in, it’s already nice and toasty.
What happens though when this car heater that is so valuable to us during these crazy winter months begins to blow cold air?
What is wrong with my car heater?
First it is important to understand how heaters in our automobiles work. In car heaters there is not an electric element. Instead, you have what is called a “heater core.” The blower is what circulates the heat through the core and then warms the car and passengers.
Coolant (which is a mix of water and antifreeze) is what circulates around the car’s engine. In cold weather the coolant is not needed to cool the engine, therefore it needs to circulate around the engine for a few minutes in order for the heater to feel warm. The heating system is using this coolant that goes around the engine to provide warmth to you, which is why it sometimes takes a few minutes for the heat to kick in.
What causes a heater to blow cold air?
If you are not getting warm heat, there are a few possible reasons why this might be happening:
- Low coolant
- Malfunctioning thermostat
- Broken controls
- Water leak
Continue reading to learn troubleshooting tips to consider for each.
First and foremost, check the coolant level. If there is not enough coolant, it will not blow out hot air at all. You can lift the hood and look for a large clear tank with a cap and the words “max” and “min” on it. Check to see if it is full enough.
If you have enough coolant, it could possibly be your thermostat that is causing the problem. Whether or not water circulates around your engine is determined by the thermostat. If the thermostat is broken or stuck, it will not allow the water to flow – meaning there will be no heat.
If both of these are working properly, your heater controls could be broken or clogged. Watch this 3-minute video for advice from award winning mechanic Scotty Kilmer on how to help resolve this issue:
Could you possibly have a water leak? This can happen in a variety of ways.
It could be a damaged hose, a leak in the radiator or the water pump that needs to be corrected immediately. A leaking head gasket would be your worst fear.
If that is the case, you will have much deeper problems than just the heater not working. It could also cause long-term damage to your engine and require extensive transmission repair.
Stay Warm this Winter with AC Maintenance & Repair
Whether you drive a van, SUV or truck, we all want to be warm this winter and make certain our car is up to par and ready to work as efficiently as possible.
Drop your vehicle by the service center in Sedalia to let one of our factory trained technicians check out the problem.
Tired of Having to Fix Your Car Heater? Get a New Car!
At Bryant Motors of Sedalia, MO, we specialize in finding your perfect car at an affordable price. If in the off chance the car, truck or SUV you need isn’t on our lot, we’ll happily find it for you through our exclusive dealership Car Concierge service.
We also have an assortment of vehicles in stock right now with the latest and greatest climate control technology available, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Ram Pickup, and all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV
2017 Ram 1500 Truck
2017 Chrysler Pacifica Minivan
Also, please continue to browse our blog and knowledge for a variety of informative car repair and maintenance topics, including:
- The Importance of Regular Oil Changes
- How to Check a Vehicle’s Tire Tread
- Transmission Problems: 5 Common Signs Your Transmission is Failing
- Radiator Flush 101
Note from the Editor: This original post was published in December 2014 and has been updated to improve accuracy and scope of information.