Thirty or forty years ago, having problems with your automotive heater often required replacement of the heater core. This was due to the type of antifreeze that circulated through the cooling system and the small heat exchanger. Ethylene glycol engine coolant required a recommended coolant flush every 30,000 miles to prevent the old fluid, which turned acidic, from eating away at the thin passageways that make up the heater core.

Nowadays, we use extended-life antifreeze, meaning it can remain in the cooling system for a longer period before causing any damage. In fact, the corrosive effects are almost non-existent, even as a vehicle passes the 100,000-mile mark. Nevertheless, it is still possible to find yourself in a situation where the heater core needs to be replaced. However, when your vehicle fails to provide the expected level of heat, it more often indicates a malfunction in the control systems of the automotive heating system.

How Your Automotive Heater Works

During the Roaring ‘20s, car companies and coach builders turned their focus to providing more comfort for the driver and their passengers. They began by enclosing the interior cabin, and soon realized that in addition to keeping the elements out, they could now heat the cabin as well. The solution turned out to be a heat exchange device, similar to the one that cooled the engine.

The coolant is heated as it circulates around, and flows from the engine block back to the radiator. Some of it is diverted to a miniaturized radiator (heater core) installed in the passenger compartment through thin tubing. It enters through the inlet side of the heater core and returns the bypassed coolant back into the main system via the outlet side.

The amount of coolant flowing through the heater core determines how much heat is produced – and how warm the cabin gets. This is controlled by a valve operated from the heater/air conditioning control panel. A variable speed blower motor circulates the air around the heater core, then pushes the heated air out into the passenger compartment.

As you may have noticed, there are many components that can cause problems with your automotive heater. For instance, if the blower motor malfunctions, the heat never reaches the passengers – or if the coolant doesn’t flow properly, cold air will be discharged into the cabin. Either situation will require a visit to a German car repair shop in Illinois.

Service Performed by a Trusted Japanese Car Mechanic Near Chicago, IL

The first thing we will check when you bring in your European or Japanese vehicle in with a heater malfunction, will be the antifreeze level in the cooling system.

As described above, any reduction in engine coolant flowing through the heater core will reduce the amount of heat produced and pushed into the passenger compartment. In fact, a low coolant level is the number one reason automobiles experience heater problems. This may be due to a malfunctioning water pump or heater core, or leaking radiator hoses.

Next, we will check the secondary parts of the system that direct airflow around the heat exchanger. If this does not reveal what is causing the problem, the next logical step is to check the control system. Our specially trained mechanics will inspect the movement of the heater and air conditioning temperature door, checking motors, cables, and sensors to ensure each of those components is doing its job.

Chicago Motors – Expert European Auto Repair Service

If you are experiencing problems with your vehicle’s heater or cooling system, we can find the problem and get you back on the road – enjoying the comfort your car was designed to provide once again. We invite you to call or stop into our full service facility today.

Chicago Motors Auto Service

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Chicago Motors Auto Service
2415 N Pulaski Ave
Chicago, IL 60639
Phone: (773) 276-0500
Fax: (773) 227-4495


Monday-Friday: 9:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Saturday: 9:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Sunday: CLOSED