In the dead of winter, when the cold air is nipping at your heels, nothing is better than climbing into a nice, toasty warm car. However, having a heater problem like a heater that blows cold air or leaks is an awful feeling in any weather. Heaters are made like a mini-radiator; with an outlet and inlet pipes and an aluminum core where hot coolant circulates from the engine. Inside the passenger side of the HVAC area under the dash is where you will find the heater core.
The core works by getting hot when coolant from the engine flows through it; then air from the blower motor is forced over the heater core and ultimately into the cabin, creating the nice warm atmosphere that feels so good on a chilly day. If the outside temperature is thirty degrees, then the air coming out of the heater should be approximately seventy degrees warmer, or 100 degrees.
Some tips that will make purchasing a new heater:
Make sure the heater is the culprit: Before you replace your heater core, check your cabin filters to see if they’re clogged and dirty, as this can cause poor blower performance.
OEM quality or better: You should look for a heater that is OEM (original equipment manufacturer) quality or better to ensure that it will work with your specific engine and system.
Refill your cooling system: Any time you’re replacing the heater or the heater core, refill the cooling system so you will get the most benefit from your updates.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Heater and was authored by Valerie Johnston.