With winter right around the corner, now’s the time for drivers across the nation to make sure they’re ready with a functioning heater. The last thing you’ll want on a frigid morning is to find out you’re stuck with a chilly commute. While there can be a number of causes for a faulty heater, you should first understand the main signs of a bad one.

Lukewarm air is coming out of your car heater

If the air blowing out of your vehicle’s vents at the hottest setting is just barely warmer than the air outside, chances are high you have a dirty or clogged heater core. You can flush out your heater core to get some efficiency back, or have a professional mobile mechanic replace it wherever you are.

No air is coming through the vents of your car heater

If your vents seem more like brick walls than passageways, there could be two things wrong. One, the blower motor for the HVAC system is faulty, meaning whenever you try and change the fan speed, nothing changes. One way to confirm the blower motor is bad is to turn on the heat and feel for residual warmth as the engine heats up. If you can’t feel anything and the engine is at full operating temperature, chances are high your heater core is no longer functioning.

The car heater is not heating up fast enough

When your engine is cold and the air outside is cold, no car will be able to instantly pump out hot air. While some newer vehicles are quick to build up some heat, it may require older models a bit more time to circulate warm air throughout the cabin. However, if it’s taking your car simply too long for warm air to come through, chances are your heater is in bad shape. This usually means the heater core is dirty and can’t pass enough warm air through the vents as intended from the factory.

The car heater has a leaking interior

When your vehicle’s heater core goes bad, it can often leak, dripping condensation into the interior. This often impacts the passenger side floor and usually requires the replacement of the heater core itself.

If your heater isn't functioning at its best have a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, look at it for you. There’s no reason to go through the season without any salvation from old man winter. We’ll come to you and diagnose, fix and maintain your ride all year long.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Signs You Need a New Car Heater and was authored by Logan Utsman.


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