Six Signs Your Car’s Heater Core Is Leaking

A leaking car’s heater core can be subtle. You might not notice the signs at first. Understanding how the heater core works, however, helps you to understand why a heater core leak can be devastating. The heater core uses hot engine coolant to warm your vehicle’s interior air. Righter’s Auto Repair lists six signs of a heater core leak below.

1. Cold Air

If the hot engine coolant is leaking out of the heater core, the air will not be warmed up as it blows over the core’s tubing. As a consequence, you will have lukewarm or cold air blowing through your vents no matter how much you turn up your heater. This is a huge problem during our cold Michigan winters.

2. Foggy Windows

You may also end up with foggy windows. Even though you’ve turned on your defrosters, the air blowing into the cabin is humid because of the heater core leak. When this combines with the air in the cabin, your windows will fog up much like they do in your home when you have a window leak.

3. Low Coolant

Another sign you have a heater core leak is low engine coolant. It’s a good idea to check your engine coolant throughout the year to make sure the levels are where they need to be. If you find yourself adding coolant to your engine often, you have a cooling system leak or a heater core leak.

4. Overheating

Unfortunately, even though you have cold air blowing into your vehicle’s cabin, your engine might overheat because it doesn’t have enough coolant in it to cool the temperature down. This can happen even in the winter if the heater core is hemorrhaging engine coolant through a leak.

5. Sweet Odors

Another sign that your car’s heater core is leaking is a sweet odor blowing into your vehicle’s interior. Coolant smells sweet. It smells fruity or a lot like pancake syrup. When you combine any of these signs above along with sweet smells blowing into your automobile, you can be assured you have a leaking heater core.

6. Wet Floorboard

Finally, in some cases, the heater core will leak the engine coolant onto your floorboard. If you see moisture down there, bring your vehicle into the two best auto service shops in Michigan. Righter’s Auto Repair has a shop in Grand Ledge and another in Lansing, MI. We can inspect your heater core to see if it’s leaking and replace it if it is.

Photo by SVproduction from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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