What are the signs of a bad heater core?
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Q:

What are the signs of a bad heater core?

A:

Quick Answer

The most common indications that an automotive heater core is failing include a foggy windshield, steam coming from vents when the heater is switched on, a water surging sound inside the dashboard, a sweet-smelling aroma coming from the vents and wet carpeting on the front passenger side. Heater cores are responsible for extracting heat from the coolant and transferring warm air into the passenger compartment.

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Full Answer

Heater cores look like tiny radiators and heat passenger compartments by allowing hot coolant through small tubes with fins. Powerful fans then force air through these fins when heat is needed to warm passenger compartments.

There are several reasons why heater cores malfunction, but the common causes include continued temperature cycling from cold to hot which leads to leaky fittings, vibrations, rust build up and corrosion.

At times, low coolant levels and bad heater blowers are the culprits of insufficient heating. If warm air suddenly becomes cold while idling, inadequate coolant levels fail to reach heater cores that are normally mounted higher than an automobile's cooling system. This most often overlooked scenario could lead to clogging and eventual heater core failure.

According to Street Directory, flushing a clogged heater core sometimes improves efficiency, but replacing it is a better option.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do I replace my heater core?

    A:

    To replace a heater core, remove the original heater core, transfer all necessary parts to the new one, put the new core in the correct location and reinstall all essential parts, according to PartSource. Gather antifreeze, distilled water, heater core hoses and hose clamps prior to the job.

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  • Q:

    Which businesses can help you with a heater core?

    A:

    Auto mechanic shops and dealership service centers can service and replace heater cores. Owing to the complexity of accessing the part in most automobiles, experts do not recommend automobile owners attempt to replace their own heater cores.

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  • Q:

    How often do you need to replace a heater core?

    A:

    Heater cores are typically replaced whenever something goes wrong with them, such as a leak, according to AutoEducation. There is no definitive time to replace a heater core, as they are not a part of typical scheduled maintenance.

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  • Q:

    What are some signs that an alternator is going bad?

    A:

    Signs that an alternator may be going bad include a weak battery, dim lights, strange sounds and smells or warning lights on the display panel reading showing the picture of a battery or displaying the codes "ALT" for alternator or "Gen" for generator. Alternators are part of the electrical system in cars and work by providing power to the batteries. If owners suspect a problem, they should have their alternators evaluated quickly because dead alternators can leave drivers stranded or mean extensive repairs, say experts at PepBoys.

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