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What Are the Signs of a Bad Heater Core?

With fall and winter coming, you're going to depend more and more on your heater. The heater core is an integral part of your car's cooling system. Hot engine coolant enters the heater core. After, the blower motor then pushes air through the heater core, transferring the heat from the hot coolant to your cabin.

The heater core is intended to last as long as the vehicle; however, accidents can happen, and things don't always go as planned. Over time, the equipment can become clogged or form leaks. Whenever there is a problem with your heater core, you'll likely notice at least one of the following symptoms:

No Heat

As this may be obvious, a damaged heater core can cause your vehicle's heater to perform poorly. In other words, your cabin won't be as toasty as you'd like on those chilly fall days.

Film or Fog on the Windshield

A malfunctioning heater core can also let the windshield fog up as coolant gas travels through the defrost vents. If you catch a sweet smell when you wipe off the condensation, it means that there is a coolant leak within the system.

Coolant Puddles

As mentioned earlier, the heater core is typically found behind your car's dashboard. If you see coolant puddles on the floor of your vehicle, that's almost always a coolant leak coming from the heater core.

Low Coolant Levels

The scenarios above are all indications that you have a coolant leak caused by a faulty heater core. It is also apparent to spot a coolant leak by inspecting your coolant levels. If it is shallow, then you're most likely dealing with a leak.

Engine Overheating

Low coolant levels can ultimately lead to damage and chaos (engine overheating). Even a jammed heater core has the potential to interfere with coolant flow enough to provoke overheating.


If you suspect that you're dealing with a heater core problem, please do not hesitate to bring your vehicle to Mancinelli's Auto Repair Center! Cooling system problems are no joke as they can lead to engine overheating and irreversible damages. As we head into the cooler months, it would be wise not to put this off. Please give us a call or visit today!

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