How A Car Heater Works


Ever wonder how your car heater works? Well, in this article, we will discuss how most car heater works. Car heaters have three main parts: the cooling system, the heater core and the blower fan & duct system. We are going to tackle these three parts in order to understand how a regular car heater works.

The first part is the cooling system.

All internal combustion vehicles come with a cooling system. It consists of a radiator, hoses, coolant and water. The coolant in the block heats up, until it becomes hot enough for the thermostat to open. Once the thermostat opens, the water flows through the radiator. The radiator consists of tubes that make multiple passes and has aluminum fins which cool the passing air. The average water temperature is 200 degrees or maybe higher. This heat is more than enough to heat the whole passenger compartment of a vehicle. This system is pressurized, meaning it raises the boiling point of water, allowing the car or vehicle to run hotter than 200 degrees, without boiling over.

How a Car Heater Works

Next part we tackle is the heater core.

The coolant, which we mentioned earlier, also travels toward the firewall of the vehicle through heater hoses. Heater hoses are smaller and thicker than radiator hoses. The coolant is directed into the heater core directly from the water pump of the engine. Then, it passes through the heater core. This heater core is designed like a tine radiator with tubes and fins for cooling. This is usually located behind the firewall and above the area where passengers place their legs. It is a real challenge to repair these, since they are in a hard to get place. Car models which are older than 1980 have more accessible heater cores then today’s latest models. If your heater core needs repair, it is recommended that you ask a skilled mechanic to do the job.

Lastly, we have the blower fan and duct system.

Hot air is created by the coolant in the heater core. This air is then blown through the air duct system of the vehicle by the blower fan. The blower fan, as you can observe in any car, has adjustable speeds to satisfy the needs of the passengers and driver at the time. The end of each duct is located where it enters the passenger compartment. These ends have vents that open and close to let more or less hot air.

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