Heater Core Problems: What Should You Do About Your Car Problems?

If you notice a small puddle of fluid or damp carpeting under your car's dashboard, you may wonder if there's a hole or bad hose in your radiator. You could actually have a leak in your car's heater core. Learn more about heater core leaks and how you can properly diagnose your car's problem below.

What's a Heater Core?

Unless something happens with your car's engine block or head gasket, the majority of radiator leaks occur on the outside of the vehicle. Heater core leaks generally happen inside the vehicle's cabin or under the dashboard. Learning how the heater core works can help you understand why you may have a problem with it.

A heater core is a small radiator-like device that sits somewhere deep inside your car's dashboard. The core relies on radiator coolant to keep the heater inside your HVAC system working properly. But in order to work correctly, the core must receive coolant from the radiator in your vehicle. If the core doesn't receive coolant, it may fail. 

Several things can cause heater core failure, including corrosion and clogs. Radiator coolant contains many different properties that keep the heater core (and other engine parts) free of rust and corrosion. However, in order to ensure that your coolant works properly, you must keep it clean. Radiator fluid that builds up with dirt, minerals, and other small particles can filter into your heater core and rust and/or clog it.

A corroded or clogged heater core will allow coolant to drip into the cabin and onto the floorboard. Your heating system may also fail to come on properly or blow out warm air when you need it. To avoid these types of car problems later, fix your heater core today.

How Do You Fix a Bad Heater Core?

The first way to fix your heater core is to take your car to an auto repair shop. An auto technician will need to test the core for damage and leaks. If a mechanic finds something wrong with the heater core, they may offer to replace the device. It may not be possible to repair the core, especially if it's extremely corroded.

In addition to repairing your heater core, a technician may run a diagnostic exam on your coolant system and engine. If rust or debris leaves the heater core and enters other parts of the car, it can cause additional problems for you. By tackling all of the issues now, it may allow you to save time and money later. 

After your car repairs, be sure to change or clean your radiator fluid regularly to keep your heater core in good shape. If necessary, an auto shop can change or clean your radiator for you.

Learn more about car problems by contacting an auto repair shop today.