Cooling System – Heater Core
The heater core is designed to dissipate heat providing driver and passenger comfort. Heater cores should last at least 5 years before they start to give trouble. They are like a smaller version of a radiator except it dissipates heat for driver and passenger comfort whereas the radiator dissipates heat for a normal operating temperature for the engine in all speeds and conditions. A heater core is usually made up of a copper core with steel tanks. The later type of heater core may be made up of aluminium making it a very expensive component.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
The heater core, over time, can become clogged. When you turn the heaters on and the temperature is only just warm this could indicate a blocked heater core or that the water is not reaching the correct temperature. A thermostat incorrectly fitted or removed may also affect the temperature of the heater core. The most common problem is a clogged or leaking heating core. A leaking heater core is when green water or a puddle of water is leaking onto the driver’s or the front passenger’s floor. Another sign is the windscreen fogging up when the car is warm. These problems need to be rectified ASAP. The heater core is connected to the cooling system which operates under pressure and further driving may drain the cooling system. This can lead to an overheated motor or a seized motor or a head gasket problem.
IS IT EXPENSIVE TO REPAIR?
Heater cores because they are situated underneath the dash or inside the dash panel assembly can cost anywhere from $150.00-$500.00 depending on the make and model. If you find that this is too expensive heater coolers can be bypassed. The cooling system does not require a heater core to operate except as a roadworthy item but this is a short term option only.
TEMPORARY REPAIR AND LONG TERM REPLACEMENT
A temporary repair to the heater core is simply bypassing the two pipes that go into the heater core and connecting those up, bypassing the heater core eliminating the heater core from leaking any further.