Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Heater Control Valve

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The heater control valve is a cooling and hvac system component that is commonly found on many road going cars and trucks. The heater control valve is typically mounted near the firewall, and acts as the valve that allows coolant to flow from the engine to the heater core, which is located inside of the vehicle. When the valve is opened, warm engine coolant passes through the valve and into the heater core, so that hot air can be produced from the vehicle’s vents.

When the heater control valve fails it can cause issues with the vehicle’s cooling system, and with the operation of the heater. Usually a bad or failing heater control valve will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Heater doesn’t work

One of the first symptoms of a faulty heater control valve is a heater that fails to produce warm air. If the heater control valve breaks or gets stuck, the coolant flow to the heater core may be restricted or stopped completely. Without coolant flow to the heater core, the heater will not be able to produce warm air for the cabin.

2. Leaking coolant

Another common symptom of an issue with the heater control valve is coolant leaks. Over time the heater control valve can wear out and crack, which will cause coolant to leak from the valve. Heater control valves can also leak from excessive corrosion from contact with old or contaminated engine coolant. Usually a leaking control valve will have to be replaced in order to repair the leak.

2. Erratic heater behavior

Erratic behavior from the engine is another symptom of an issue with the vehicle’s heater control valve. A faulty heater control valve may not be able to properly control coolant flow to the heater, which may result in problems with operating the heater. The heater may produce hot air, but only at certain times, such as at idle, and the hot air may come and go. A faulty heater control valve may also cause the temperature gauge to behave erratically, rapidly climbing and falling, which will make it difficult to determine the temperature of the engine.

While replacing the heater control generally considered routine maintenance, as a vehicle approaches high mileage it can begin to have issues and require attention. If your vehicle is producing any of the symptoms above, or you suspect that your heater control valve may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the valve should be replaced.


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Fabrice

18 years of experience
133 reviews
Fabrice
18 years of experience
Toyota Yaris - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Orlando, Florida
My appointment was late in the day, so being late was expected. Fabrice notified me ahead of time about his tardiness. When he arrived, he was apologetic, courteous and professional. He got to work right away and let me know of other work that was needed for future appointments

Oreste

12 years of experience
111 reviews
Oreste
12 years of experience
Nissan Frontier - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Miami, Florida
The best ever!!!! Will not use anyone else in future .. very knowledgeable and explained every thing to me .very professional, well spoken .

Breck

18 years of experience
527 reviews
Breck
18 years of experience
Jeep Patriot - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Houston, Texas
Becks was very informative about things that I didn't know needed to be looked at with my car. He fixed little hick ups quickly and had me ready to get back on the road sooner than I thought he would.

Miguel

19 years of experience
63 reviews
Miguel
19 years of experience
Audi allroad - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Miguel is very professional mechanic. He called me in advance about his coming. He brought the quality parts (brakes pads and rotors) and done his job quickly and of great quality. I tested the brakes after the replacement and they were efficient and very silent. I would recommend him very much.

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