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A good heater core is critical to your wintertime pleasure. Meanwhile, a bad one doesn’t only stop at leaving you cold in the winter – it can ruin other parts of your car and result in a massive bill. In today’s post, Driverevolve will help you understand more about this small but mighty part, including 6 signs that you need a fix and the heater core replacement cost

What Is A Heat Core? 

A heater core is a mini version of your vehicle’s radiator. It utilizes the thermal energy from your car’s coolant to heat your vehicle’s interiors. It redirects coolant from the rest of the vehicle’s cooling mechanism.

The coolant collects heat when the motor gets hotter; the hydraulic pump distributes it through the cooling mechanism. The central radiator subsequently cools it down under the boiling temperature, and the thermostat uses it to keep the entire network at a fixed temperature.

Whenever you switch on the heater in your vehicle, a valve opens to allow warm coolant to reach the heater core (on a few cars), or a door opens to allow air to pass through your already-hot heater core. 

When your coolant is around 200°F, your heater can rapidly send a massive amount of heated air to the car’s cabin.

6 Signs That You Need To Replace Your Heater Core 

Fog Inside Your Car

If you notice fog within your vehicle, you should take it seriously. Your heater core might be faulty, resulting in your defrosters stopping working. Secondly, your core might spew fog/smoke into your car’s interior.

A damp passenger-side floorboard might indicate a leaking heater core, which is the most prevalent problem. Coolant will trickle underneath your passenger-side firewall, with a few leaking through your firewall and onto your floorboard.
Your faulty heater core might cause fog in the car. – AvalonKing

Wet Passenger-Side Floorboard

A damp passenger-side floorboard might indicate a leaking heater core, which is the most prevalent problem. Coolant will trickle underneath your passenger-side firewall, with a few leaking through your firewall and onto your floorboard.

A faulty air conditioning evaporator core might also result in a damp passenger-side floorboard. The distinction is that a defective heater core will discharge coolant, while a bad evaporator core would release water onto the floor.
A wet passenger-side floorboard might indicate a problem with your heater core. – Maxima Forums 

A faulty air conditioning evaporator core might also result in a damp passenger-side floorboard. The distinction is that a defective heater core will discharge coolant, while a bad evaporator core would release water onto the floor.

Sweet Smells in the Car

It’s possible that the sweet scent in your car isn’t from your fragrance or the pastries you’re bringing to your office. There is probably something wrong with your heater core. 

If your heater core starts leaking, it will discharge engine coolant scents via its vents. Coolant has a lovely, somewhat moldy odor. Most people state that this scent resembles sweets, fruits, or golden syrup.

Constant Engine Coolant Loss

Regarding coolant, coolant loss is yet another symptom that your core is failing. This is frequently caused by coolant leakage within your heater core. 

You might fill up your coolant only to discover it is down the following day. Insufficient coolant amounts can cause your engine to burn up and cause severe damage; thus, you should address the leakage as soon as possible.

Cold Air In the Cabin

Your heater core contains a pipe system that circulates heated engine coolant before returning it to your radiator. Air is pumped onto your hot coolant for reheat before it is vented into the cabin. If the air is cold rather than warm, your core may leak all of the hot coolants via the pipes.

Cold Cabin/Hot Engine

Ultimately, the last hint that your heater core collapses is a mix of the former two. If cold air is coming from your vents yet your engine is scorching, you have a coolant issue that may most likely relate to the heater core. It’s most likely leaking and depleting your engine or coolant.

What Causes A Bad Heater Core?

For example, if your coolant is not replaced at times recommended by the automaker, it will ultimately deteriorate. When this occurs, your coolant starts to wear out different metal parts of the cooling mechanism, especially your heater core.

Sediment accumulation in the old coolant can also jam your heater core, leading to more severe problems within this component.
Issues with your coolant are one of the culprits of a bad heater core. – The Motor Guy 

Sediment accumulation in the old coolant can also jam your heater core, leading to more severe problems within this component.

Heater Core Replacement Cost: How Much Is It?

The cost of repairing your heater core relies on whether you do it yourself or contact an expert.

To replace your heater core with an expert, the overall cost of components and labor will be from $800 to $1,000. Service rates differ, so ask the staff from several maintenance services for estimates.

If you repair your heater manually, you will only need to purchase a replacement heater core, which costs from $100 to $300.
Heater core replacement cost varies. – Sun Devil Auto  

If you repair your heater manually, you will only need to purchase a replacement heater core, which costs from $100 to $300. 

However, the heater core’s tricky position underneath the engine compartment or behind the dashboard might be a problematic do-it-yourself replacement.

FAQs 

Can Heater Core Affect Air Conditioning? 

Partly. A faulty heater core won’t interfere with your air conditioner’s primary function of blowing cool air. 

However, suppose your air conditioner is doing well and has the appropriate coolant while your heater core is defective. In that case, you might experience a temperature blend window that is not functioning and remains in a hot setting.

Can You Drive With A Blown Heater Core?

Your vehicle should be repaired as soon as possible if your heater core has any problem. Running with a defective heater core might result in overheating and severe engine damage. A blocked heater core, for example, might inhibit proper coolant flow, resulting in an overheated engine.

How Long Should A Heater Core Last? 

Most heater cores are built to last for a long time, often 10-15 years. Clearly, imposing a heavy load on your heater core or failing to fix a heater core’s problem can significantly reduce its lifespan.

Will A Coolant Flush Unclog A Heater Core?

Flushing your heater core can help decrease the gunks that accumulate inside it. Cleaning your heater core using a pressure washer is the most effective unclogging method.

Does K Seal Work On Heater Core?

Yes.

They can repair leakage in ‘solid’ cooling unit components such as the head, head seal, cylinder, inner seal, thermostat, and heater core.

Wrapping Up 

The importance of your heater core doesn’t stop at keeping you warm in the winter. It is an essential link in your vehicle’s system and can directly affect the performance of the whole mechanism. Thus, don’t overlook any issue occurring with this one. 

Remember, your heater core replacement cost might be much less than the money you spend fixing components affected by a faulty heater core! 

For more knowledge of car parts, refer to our Fun Autopart section.

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