4 Reasons Car Heaters Fail

Making sure your vehicle produces sufficient heat is important not only for winter comfort, but for safe driving.

A broken heating system can be downright dangerous, should you be stranded in the cold. It can also render your defroster ineffective, creating a driving hazard.

Highly rated auto service providers tell our research team that, unlike a house, vehicles don’t have a central heater. Instead, a car’s heating system is essentially a combination of components.

The heat that warms you in the cabin originates with the engine’s coolant system. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature — controlled by the thermostat — it heats the mixture of coolant and water, passing it through hoses and valves and into the heater core, which resembles a miniature radiator.

A fan blows air over the heater core, pushing the warmed air through the cabin filter and into the cabin.

The fix for a heating problem will depend on its source. Auto experts tell us that these are common possible causes:

1. A cooling system leak that results in insufficient antifreeze and water in the radiator. A leak can be caused by something as simple as a loose hose clamp or it can be a sign of a more serious problem. Topping off the radiator fluid may help temporarily, but plan to have a coolant leak checked out. (Be aware that coolant in newer models may not require routine service until 60,000 to 100,000 miles.)

2. A faulty thermostat that doesn’t allow the engine to properly warm up.

3. A broken blower fan.

4. Coolant contaminated with rust particles or some other substance, creating a blockage that prevents the heating core from properly circulating air into the cabin.

Because several components comprise the heating system, it’s best to have a reputable auto mechanic diagnose and treat any problems.

Most heating-related repairs range in cost from $300 to $1,000, our research team learned, but an exact price can vary widely, because of the variety of issues that can create a heating problem.

To help ensure that your heating system performs when you need it most, have a mechanic regularly check the coolant level and other components, such as hoses and belts.


Dear Readers,

Our primary goal is the safety of our team, customers, relationships, and community. While closely monitoring the information and updates from the various health and safety departments Blake’s has daily team meetings. We also implemented the following safety procedures:

  • Our team wears masks
  • Anyone entering the office is requested to wear a mask
  • Estimates are done outside. Customers can stay inside their vehicle.
  • Every vehicle gets wiped down with sanitizer when dropped off for a repair
  • Every vehicle gets sanitized again after the repair is completed

We understand your comfort level is key so also offer the option of complete touch-less vehicle estimates and/or repairs:

  • The initial estimate can be done on-line
  • An estimate can be scheduled for our estimator to meet you outside the office
  • For an estimate and/or repair the vehicle can be dropped off in front of our office, and the keys dropped in the key drop (this can be done during or after hours). This must be scheduled so we are expecting the keys.
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Please feel free to call us to schedule your estimate and/or repair at this time or for a future date. We are here to make sure your vehicle is safe and accessible at all times, and are happy to help with any auto related questions.

All the best to you and yours,
Marc S. Sebastian, CEO