6 Most Common Car Heater Problems



A heater is like a smaller version of a radiator. A heater usually uses the heat from the coolant to keep the car’s interior warmth. When your car’s heater stops working in the middle of winter, it can make your life miserable. When you have no heat in the vehicle, it has no other way to defrost the windows and mirrors to reduce condensation and ice. In addition to keeping the inside warmth, you need to look for the reason why your car heater is not working and how you can fix it.

Common car heater issues

There are several reasons why your car heater is not working. Out of hundreds of unknown problems we have made a list of 6 most common car heater problems. The followings are some of the primary reasons why your heater stopped working:

Cooling system

A car’s cooling system usually works like a radiator. When the engine gets the appropriate temperature, it starts heating the coolant and water mix. This mixture goes into the heating core with the help of hoses and valves. The fan helps to blow the heat away from the core and disseminates it to the cabin of the car. When the coolant level is getting low, the core stops working, or there is air in the system, your car heater may not run. The coolant can be an issue too. If the coolant has rust particles or other contaminants, it prevents the heating core from spreading heated air into the cabin. You need to check your heater’s coolant level and fix it to where it is supposed to be. You also need to check that the coolant is not contaminated. If you have a low coolant level, you need to make sure that there is no leak in the system.

Water leaks

Water leaks can be a significant problem in car heaters. You need to check hoses, radiators and water pumps regularly to detect the water leaks. If any of these are found leaked, your heater will not work correctly. If you identify that the heat cannot blow out of your vents, you should immediately hire an expert from the local auto repair shop to look at your heating system. If left untreated, it may cost you more.


You may need to look at your fan. The heater may be working well, but if the fan is not working, then your heated air is not reaching to the cabin of the car. You need to check the fuse first and make sure it is not blown. If it is not about a fuse problem, you may require replacing the fan. This problem is typically common with the oldest cars.


A lousy thermostat can be another reason why your plug in car heater is not working. If the thermostat is not opening to allow coolant flow through it, the core cannot produce the heat. If the thermostat is the main problem, you may have more significant issues as the vehicle will start to overheat.

Faulty heater core

The heater core is considered to be one of the most vital parts of the cooling system. It helps to transfer heat from the hot engine coolant to the cabin. A faulty heater core has some signs, such as a sweet smell, coolant on the cabin floor and a slimy film on the windows. If you detect some of these signs, you should get your car in for repairs right away. If left untreated, it can undoubtedly lead to overheating and engine damage.

Broken heater control

The heater control valve refers to a cooling and HVAC system component that is commonly found on cars and trucks. The heater control valve is usually mounted close to the firewall, and performs as the valve that enables the coolant to flow from the engine to the heater core. When the valve is opened, warm engine coolant passes through the valve and into the heater core, so the hot air can be generated from the vents. When the heater control valve fails to work, it can cause severe issues with the car’s cooling system and the operation of the heater.


Heater problems can be a severe issue. It can cost you more if left untreated for a long time. Simple maintenance can help you to prevent issues with the heater. You need to make it sure that you have a full coolant level at all times as it helps the unit’s core to heat up. You need to be sure that the coolant in your vehicle’s system is clean and free from any rust or debris. It would be great if you also looked at the thermostat and fan; see whether they are perfectly working or not. Make it sure that you check the belts and hoses that they are not leaking and properly attached.


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