During our Midwestern winters, our car heater is a necessity! But if your car’s heater suddenly stops working in the middle of a Nebraska winter, it can make it downright miserable. Some basic vehicle maintenance can go a long way toward preventing this.
A car that feels like an icebox isn’t the only problem a broken heater creates. It can prevent your defroster from blowing warm air to your windshield to eliminate ice and frost, which can pose a hazard while driving. In addition, if you end up stranded, not having a heater could become a dire situation during the winter months.
A heater can stop working for several reasons, including:
There really is not a heater unit, like a furnace in your house, that you can just replace. It is more a combination of different things providing heat into the vehicle. It is very difficult to give a cost due to the wide variety of possible problems. Depending on the problem, different types of repairs could be required.
One of the most important components, the heater core, acts like a small radiator and passes the hot air from under the dashboard into the vehicle. They can cost several hundred dollars to replace.
A heater core can be described as a part placed on a workbench, and the car is built around it. To replace or repair a heater core, it can sometimes take a day or more.
Most heating-related repairs range from $300 to $1,000, but it is difficult to pinpoint an exact number because of the variety of problems.
A decrease in the coolant level or a leak in the coolant system is one of the more common problems. Coolant does not evaporate on its own.
Topping it off may help in the short term, but it is an indication of a deeper problem and should be checked out. You should not have to add anything at all if everything is working well. It can damage the motor if there is low heat from too little coolant.
A leak could be as simple as a loose hose clamp, or a major problem like a leaking engine cylinder head gasket, which can cause serious damage to the engine and cost several hundred dollars to replace.
Several components make up the heating system, so unless you have experience with car maintenance, it is best to have a reputable auto mechanic diagnose the problem.
In general terms, a heating system works when the vehicle receives heat from the engine’s coolant system. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature — controlled by the thermostat — it heats up the coolant and water mixture, passes it through hoses and valves and into the heating core, which resembles a miniature radiator.
A blower fan then pushes the warm air from the heating core through the cabin filter and into the vehicle.
The best thing to do is to have a mechanic review your heater regularly by checking the coolant level and the other components.
Maintaining your vehicle; checking hoses, belts and keeping the coolant clean and filled are simple basic maintenance to help keep it working. Other important maintenance schedule checks include the car battery, air filters, tire pressure, and windshield wipers. The owner’s manual for your vehicle will also guide you in keeping you safely on the road.
Extra Resource: The Ultimate Vehicle Maintenance Checklist
At Great Plains Auto Body shop Omaha and Council Bluffs, we’re committed to giving you an unmatched level of service. As a company that’s been family owned and operated for more than 26 years, we’re dedicated to treating our customers as we would treat members of our own family. We’ll keep you informed throughout the entire repair process and make sure you’re satisfied when the job is complete. From estimating and detailing to collision repair and paint services, our ASE-certified mechanics and technicians make sure the job is done right and on time.