If your car heater packs it in this winter, you’ll likely have to entomb yourself in extra clothing and blankets to stay warm while on the road. And even then, your chattering teeth are likely to be distracting.
A much better solution is to avoid car-heater problems altogether. To help keep your tootsies toasty this winter, pay attention to the following signs of impending heater trouble:
- Do you hear a chirping or screeching sound when you turn on your car heater? This noise suggests a worn fan-motor bearing. Motor failure will quickly follow.
- Is your dashboard heater-control lever unusually stiff? This stiffness could be a sign of a sticky or inoperative heater-control valve.
- Does moisture accumulate inside your car, even with the defroster running? If so, your car’s heater core – a miniature radiator – may be leaking.
- Does your heating system operate inefficiently? Heater and defroster duct hoses carry fresh air into the system and warmed air to locations beyond the heater core. If these duct hoses leak, your heater won’t warm your car or defrost your windows efficiently.
- Does your heater blow only cold air? A leaking heater hose (which carries your system’s antifreeze) could be the culprit, and this problem could leave you stranded at the side of the road.
A properly functioning car heater will keep you comfortable and will keep your windows clear, both of which are important to safe winter driving. So know the signs, pay attention to your car, and remember that if something feels, smells or sounds funny, you should bring your car in for an inspection. Better to pay a little for peace of mind than to be stranded at the side of the road in the cold.
Marc Brazeau is the president and CEO of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada.