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Cooling System Component : Heater Core - Houston's Premier Auto Repair Facility

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Cooling System Home Page > Parts of the Cooling System > Heater Core


Function: A small radiator through which engine coolant flows in order  to heat the air entering the cabin.


Signs of Wear: Sweet-smelling vapor coming through the defroster or other cabin vents, insufficient or lack of heat in the cabin.















Hot antifreeze or engine coolant flows through the heater core. As the blower motor forces air across the heater core, the air is heated, and the antifreeze is cooled.


Heater cores can be damaged when the coolant is not replaced on a regular basis. When the coolant becomes acidic, the inside of the heater core can corrode, resulting in a leak. Signs of a leaking heater core include steam forming on the inside of the windshield, the smell of antifreeze inside the vehicle, and a wet carpet -- usually on the passenger side of the vehicle. Replacing a heater core usually involves a large amount of labor to remove the dashboard and heater box.


Old coolant can also cause furring inside the heater core or sludge blockages that prevent adequate coolant flow - preventing the heater from warming up the vehicle. A clogged heater core may need to be replaced, or can sometimes be cleaned by removing the heater hoses and flushing the heater core with water.


The heater core acts as a radiator - cooling off coolant and heating air simultaneously.


As corrosion inhibitors in the coolant break down, it becomes corrosive and causes damage to the heater core and other cooling system parts.


Have your vehicle cooling system checked by an ASE Certified Technician in Cooling System. Set up a reservation today to visit our auto repair facility on the southwest side of Houston.