Brrrr! It's cold outside, and if you're unlucky enough to be suffering from heating trouble in your car, it might just be cold inside too. Getting through a summer without air conditioning can be tough, but making it through a chilly winter without heat is often unbearable. Since your car uses engine heat to keep you warm and toasty, cold vents might be a sign of deeper trouble, as well. Like most automobile issues, inadequate or non-existent heating can have a variety of potential causes. This article will cover a few of the common ones so that you have an idea of what to expect when you get your car into a mechanic.
No Air From The Vents
If there's no air coming from your vents, then your heater might not be the problem at all. Try turning your fan to maximum and feel for any movement. If your car uses an automatic climate control system, then switch it to manual and blast the fan. Dead stillness may indicate an issue with the blower motor or an electrical component such as the final stage resistor. As with any electrical problem, it's a good idea to check your car's fuse box to be sure. Parts for blower motors can often be cheap, but labor may be costly if a significant amount of your dash must be disassembled.
Unusual Fan Behavior
Does your fan come on seemingly at random? If you have an automatic climate control, does it have trouble maintaining a set temperature or go full blast for no reason at all? As with a total lack of air, this can be an issue with a component that controls the blower. In some cases, the failure might lie with a control module or even the climate unit in the dash. While the upside is that you know your heating problem isn't directly related to your car's heater, the downside is that these electronic components are often pricey.
Air That Never Gets Warm
If your fan is blowing but the air is cold, then the source of trouble likely lies with the engine cooling system. You're probably wondering what the cooling system has to be due with your car's heat, but the two are inextricably intertwined. As the coolant draws heat away from your engine, that heat is repurposed to keep you warm and comfortable. Cold air may be a sign that your car's thermostat is malfunctioning, preventing the vehicle from reaching its full operating temperature. You may also have issues with your coolant, such as old or dirty fluid. Finally, the heater core may be faulty, preventing the coolant's heat from being transferred to the cabin air.
Whatever the case, it's a good idea to have a problem with your heating system checked out as soon as possible. If the culprit lies with the cooling system, then you may be in danger of suffering a much more expensive failure in the future. If not, then remember that spending a few dollars is still better than spending the winter freezing your socks off during your morning commute. Contact a local auto shop like Powers Car Care Centers to learn more.