<p>As the days grow shorter and the nights colder, drivers start turning the dial of the temperature control toward the red zone. To generate heat in the passengers’ compartment, the heater core pushes residual heat from the engine. <br></p>
As the days grow shorter and the nights colder, drivers start turning the dial of the temperature control toward the red zone. To generate heat in the passengers’ compartment, the heater core pushes residual heat from the engine.
It’s also around that time of the year that drivers and passengers start noticing there may be something wrong with their heater core. Even if heater core issues surface in winter, that does not mean winter is the cause for these problems.
A common enemy
All year round, the heater is vulnerable to the same stresses as the complete cooling system like the thermostat and radiator. For the majority of heaters made in aluminum, the main threat is the decay of that material caused by electrolysis and/or contamination of the coolant.
The best course of action is to perform regular cooling system maintenance at the recommended intervals for the vehicle. Clean coolant keeps acidity and contamination of the cooling fluid in check and protects the aluminum with special additives.
Be careful: no heat does not always mean you need heater core replacement! A thorough coolant flush and replacement may solve some issues. For example, on some models, the coolant additives separate and create a gel that clogs the heater.
Other than the absence of heat, you may find leaks that wet the carpet on the passenger side or fog the windows. These are signs that the heater is starting to fail.
Hard to get
Replacing a heater core is a labour-intensive repair. In some cases, the replacement even requires the removal of the instrument panel. The difficulty of the repair reinforces the importance of regular maintenance. If replacement is still necessary, getting the right part matters even more.
A primary concern is fit: you need to know that the new heater will match the OE casing. There is little room for manoeuver and no room for differences with the original part.
Availability of the part, ensured by vehicle application coverage, is also important: the sooner you get the right part, the quicker the vehicle can leave the garage bay.
Finally, quality of the materials and construction, verified through quality control, ensure that you only have to replace that part once.
Learn more about Spectra Premium heaters by visiting a Bumper to Bumper store