Autumn Inspection For Winter Warmth

Your family doesn’t need to wear parkas to stay warm in your vehicle this winter. You may just need your climate control system inspected.

That is especially true if you plan to travel during upcoming holidays.

“There’s any number of reasons why a heater or defroster may not work properly,” said Steve Schaeber, manager of service training for the Mobile Air Conditioning Society. “Sometimes they are simple fixes, other times they are indicative of larger problems. The heating and ventilation system of your vehicle is like anything else; if you pay attention to it and maintain it you can reduce the chances of an expensive repair.”

For starters, the problem may be as simple as a blown fuse or there could be an airflow problem within the ventilation system itself. Another common cause lies with the vehicle’s cooling system (such as lack of antifreeze).

Experienced technicians can often spot problems with a visual inspection, though many modern cars also have specialized codes that can be deciphered by a diagnostic test.

Schaeber offered the following tips on what to do if your heater or defroster isn’t working:

  • A heater/defroster could fail because of a ventilation problem. For instance, leaves and twigs accumulated during summer and fall may be blocking the vents.\
  • A complication with the electrical system. Have the fuses checked to potentially find the root of the issue.
  • The cooling system itself may be to blame. Make sure you have enough antifreeze and the system is functioning properly. Some problems can be diagnosed visually, while others require a diagnostic scan for trouble codes.
  • Dust accumulated on your vents could just be a sign you need to clean your interior. If you wipe it down and dust reappears shortly after, find out if your cabin air filter needs to be replaced.