Ah, fall is upon us! The leaves are turning pretty colors, carved pumpkins are showing up on doorsteps and front lawns, and the air is fresh and crisp…
But never fear! As you’re on your way to work in the morning, you can turn on your trusty heater and take in that familiar scent you haven’t smelled since last spring.
“Um…wait a minute. I know it takes a while to warm up, but this is taking too long,” you say to yourself as you rub your hands together for warmth. And after a few minutes, you just have to go so you aren’t late…
It’s Not Warming Up! What Gives?!
This is especially important for those of you with long drives and/or little ones riding along. You may be able to get by during the fall months, but come winter, this will quickly become a real problem.
In order to prevent little child-shaped icicles from forming in your backseat, it’s best to deal with car heater issues early on—before the winter chill comes. Join Beck’s Auto Center, an auto repair shop in Lafayette, Indiana for info on common heater problems so you can plan your trip to the mechanic.
Is There Enough Coolant?
Let’s check the easy thing first. If your heater is taking a while to heat up or you aren’t feeling any heat at all, it may simply be a low coolant level.
Each car is different, but likely, your coolant reservoir will be see-through, and you’ll be able to just look at it and see how much is in there. You’ll see markings on the side that indicate the appropriate level of coolant that should be in the engine.
Keep in mind! The coolant level will rise when the engine is warm, so bear this in mind when determining if you need to add any. Also, if you do need to add some, make sure you use the right coolant for your car. If you’re unsure, just check your owner’s manual or ask your local auto repair shop.
If this is the case, you’re in luck. It’s a cheap fix. The typical price of a container of coolant is around 10 dollars. However, you may want to schedule an inspection to see WHY your car is low on coolant. Because, at the end of the day, it shouldn’t happen. And it could mean more trouble down the road…literally and metaphorically.
It IS Turned Up…
Sometimes, the simplest solution is the right one. For many older cars, the switches, knobs, or sliders that control your heater can become broken or gummed up, rendering them inoperable. It may be a simple case of ordering a replacement and putting it in there. Other times, you may need to remove part of the dashboard to get it fixed.
The price of this fix varies. If you just have to pop a new knob on there, it’s a quick 10-dollar fix. But if you need to take things apart, it could be a few hundred dollars. So plan ahead!
Ooh, That Smell!
It can be a real surprise when you first turn on your heat for the season and…something doesn’t smell right.
If you’re having a burning smell come from the vents, it’s likely due to debris built up in the ventilation system. When the hot air blows over the leaves, pine needles, trash, etc., it will produce that burning smell. Especially for older cars, you may be surprised by the amount of debris that’s accumulated in your vent system.
Along with a burning smell, you may encounter a sweet smell as well. This is a potentially dangerous problem that is often caused by a leak in the coolant system. Toxic ethylene glycol is leaking from somewhere in your engine, and if you’ve got a strong smell coming into the passenger compartment, it’s likely due to a problem with your heater core.
Air duct cleaning costs depend on the nature of the debris and the time it takes to clear it. You might be looking at 60 to 100 dollars. Replacing a heater core can run you 600 to 900 dollars, so you’ll want to plan ahead if cash is tight.
The Temp Gauge Is On “C”
If your car doesn’t warm up, check your temperature gauge. If it’s reading “C” your air will remain cool.
And that’s NOT cool.
A malfunctioning thermostat can cause a variety of problems—and preventing it from warming up is minor compared to what else can happen. If your thermostat is getting stuck in one position, it can just as easily get stuck in another position. And the opposite of cold is hot…which can quickly kill your engine.
The good news is, as far as car repairs go, this isn’t an extremely expensive repair. But you’ll still be looking at a couple hundred dollars, so if money’s tight, you’ll have to plan out getting this fixed before it wrecks your car!
The Beck’s Auto Repair Experience
Whether you’re anticipating a repair or you’d just like someone to look over your vehicle, Beck’s Auto Center is here to help you get your vehicle in safe and comfortable condition for the upcoming cold season. Send us a message or give us a call at (765) 447-9459.