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Signs a Heater Core is Going Bad

A heater core in a car is something that most people do not think about until it fails to work. The heater core is a part of your vehicle’s heating and cooling system that is responsible for distributing heat throughout your car. This helps to keep you warm on a cold day, while also helping to defrost an icy wind or clear up a foggy one. Here are a few of the signs that you should be aware of that may be indicative of a failing heater core. 

You Notice a Sweet Smell in Your Car

One of the signs that your heater core may be going bad is smelly a sweet scent in your vehicle when you turn on the heater. This sweet scent you smell is often caused by radiator fluid and/or coolant leaking. If you smell this when the heater is on, it likely means there is a leak in your heater core or in one of the hoses connected to the heater core. You may also notice a puddle of red, brown or green fluid under your car. 

Your Car’s Engine is Overheating

Due to the colder temperatures, it is pretty rare that a car overheats during the winter months. If you notice your car is running hot during winter, the likely culprit is a heater core issue. If your heater core is not working properly, it may not be able to pull heat from the engine, which can cause your engine to overheat. In fact, failing or broken heater cores are the number one reason why cars overheat during the winter months. If you notice your car is getting hot, you should stop driving it and take it to an auto repair shop right away. 

You Cannot Defrost or De-Fog Your Windows

The final sign of a heater core that is going bad is being unable to defrost or de-fog your windows. The heater core is responsible for pulling air toward your windshield when you turn the defrost vent on in your automobile. If air is not blowing and your windshield or back window are not de-fogging or defrosting, the heater core is likely not working. 

If you notice one or more of these signs, or your car is not heating up when you turn on the heater, it is time to let a professional car repair shop examine your heater core. Morgan Automotive Repair has convenient locations in Tracey, Manteca and Stockton, as well as a Sacramento center opening soon, to help you with all of your automobile repair needs, including heater core repair or replacement. When your car is in need of maintenance or repair, let us help! Book your auto needs with us. 

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