A heater core is much like a little radiator. Coolant is circulated with it from the water pump and also it has fins to increase the surconfront location and burned warmth more successfully. The heater core is situated in the HVAC box (which means heating, ventilation, and also air conditioning), which is frequently located on the firewall in the vehicle’s passenger compartment. In order to acquire accessibility to the heater core the box commonly demands to be disassembled, which in many type of instances involves the facility project of removing the dash. In a lot of situations, it’s an all-day job, at leastern.

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Signs that a heater core demands reinserted are:

Coolant loss, often from the HVAC drainpipe approximately the firewall location.
The smell of coolant in the cabin, and also periodically greasy-feeling mist on the lower windshield from the defrost vents.No warmth from the vents, if the heater core is blocked. To preeminence out temperature blend door concerns, which can reason the same problem, commonly, the heater hose temperatures are checked. If coolant is flowing through both hoses will be the same temperature and hot.

Costs of Heater Core Replacement

On average it expenses about $800 to relocation the heater core in a lot of vehicles.

For some even more certain approximates of the expense of heater core replacement, using $100 an hour as a labor rate and including in the price of a couple of gallons of coolant:


For a 2003 Honda Civic through a 1.7-liter engine, the labor time to rearea the heater core is 7.3 hrs. A factory heater core costs about $341, or a UAC component costs around $65. This makes the project about $1081 utilizing OE parts, or about $815 making use of aftermarket parts.

For A 2006 Ford Fusion with a 3.0-liter engine, the labor time to rearea the heater core is 5.6 hrs. A manufacturing facility heater core prices about $169, or a Spectra Premium component costs about $67. This provides the task about $749 making use of OE parts, or about $647 using aftermarket parts.

For a 2009 Nissan Frontier four-wheel drive, the labor time to relocation the heater core is 6.6 hrs. A factory heater core costs around $348, or a GPD part costs about $87. This provides the job around $1028 making use of factory components, or around $767 using aftersector parts.


For a 2002 Dodge Intrepid through a 2.7-liter engine, the labor time to rearea the heater core is 5.8 hrs. A manufacturing facility heater core prices around $167, or a UAC part expenses around $68. This makes the job about $767 using OE parts, or about $668 utilizing aftermarket components.

What Goes Wrong with Heater Cores

The most common reason for replacement is a heater core leak. They are necessarily made out of thin metal to transmit heat a lot of efficiently, and also they can be breakable. Vibrations or physical managing can cause a heater core to crack and also leak, or they deserve to likewise leak from corrosion. Their place in the vehicle is pretty well safeguarded from outside corrosives, however if the liquid in the cooling system is aged or contaminated they deserve to corrode internally. The thinness of the steel have the right to make the heater core the initially thing to leak in that instance.


Anvarious other reason to replace the heater core is if the core becomes plugged. In the majority of cases a plugged heater core deserve to be fluburned. It only takes a tiny little of obstruction to reduce coolant circulation to the allude that the heater doesn’t work, and the procedure then is generally to pull the heater hoses and flush clean water through the core back and also forth until it runs clean and also easily. That doesn’t constantly occupational though, and also then replacement is the next step.

Clogs deserve to occur bereason the liquid is old or contaminated, or occasionally they deserve to be led to by stop-leak commodities, which deserve to clog small passeras in the radiator and also heater core. Another issue is that some various forms of coolant are incompatible; when blended, some combicountries deserve to congeal to a thick gel that is incredibly challenging to clear from fine coolant passages. In that case, the heater core is just one of the initially parts affected, and also it is usually replaced.


How have the right to I prevent heater core problems?

The main method is to business the coolant according to the schedule in the owner’s hand-operated, and also to make certain that nopoint however the correct liquid is included to the cooling mechanism. If water have to be added many manufacturer’s recommend making use of distilled water fairly than tap water.


Can I drive without heater core?

Yes, though that’s even more or much less a difficulty relying on the weather. The heater hoses deserve to be blocked off the isolate a leaking heater core. But there will be no warm or defrost features in the car then.

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How long does it take to rearea a heater core?

In the majority of instances it’s cshed to an all day job, periodically also entailing disassembling and also rerelocating the dash.


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Daniel Rey
Daniel has worked for 33 years now in the automotive field, as an ASE Master Technician for independent shops and dealerships, as a Certified Chrysler Technician, as a warranty clintends adjuster for General Motors.