Why Is My Car Heater Not Working?

Closeup photo of woman adjusting car conditioner temperature

If you are experiencing unpleasantly cold drives, there may be something wrong with your car’s heater. Fortunately, most issues are easy to troubleshoot, and the ASE-certified professionals at Quanz Auto Body can provide quality fixes.

How Does a Car Heater Work?

To understand what may be wrong with your car’s heater, it helps to understand the general mechanics of it. Essentially, a tubing circuit enables coolant to flow from the engine to the radiator. When the coolant passes through the engine, it absorbs the heat generated by the engine’s combustion of fuel. The coolant continues through the radiator where it releases that heat into your car’s cabin. (So, an even more simplified way of putting this is that heat from your engine is transferred to your car’s interior.)

Common Car Heater Problems

There are two common causes for car heater failures:

  1. The thermostat is stuck. The flow of coolant through the engine is controlled by a thermostat that opens and closes a valve as it senses the temperature change in the coolant. If the thermostat is not functioning properly, that valve may be stuck open or closed, which either means coolant is not allow to sufficiently absorb heat before cycling through to the radiator, or (worse), coolant is not cycling out of the engine, which will eventually lead to overheating.
  2. Hoses through which the coolant cycles may be clogged.

You don’t need to diagnose your car’s heater problem before taking it to Quanz…but it’s imperative you do. In addition to making your drive miserably cold, you could be putting your engine at risk. If the problem really is just a clog, flushing the tubes is easy enough, but it’s a really messy business, so leave that to us, too.

You don’t need an appointment to get your car heater fixed, but you can contact us to more conveniently schedule service and require a courtesy shuttle to home or work.