Q: Is my heater core bad or condenser?

asked by on

I originally thought the heater core was bad because the passenger side floor board stays soaked in liquid. I don't smell coolant though and the engines not running hot...i was told the condenser was bad because at times driving the ac will go hot until i get off the gas or out a turn then it'll go back cold. That problem just began, but the floor board been wet for at least two months. Yesterday it rained real hard, but while driving i could of sworn i saw steam like smoke coming from under the hood but the truck temperature never indicated it was running hot. It seems to work properly.

My car has 110000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there, thanks for writing in about your ...

Hi there, thanks for writing in about your 2008 Ford Escape. The first thing you need to do is to check your coolant level when your truck is cold. Do this by removing the radiator cap. The radiator cap on your car is part of the expansion tank. If it is low, the coolant leak should be found and repaired. When your checking the coolant level, take note of the condition of the coolant. It should be clean and the color should be bright. Ford coolant is often yellow, but it may have already had the coolant replaced at one time and it could be green. The main thing is it should be clean.

Taking note of the coolant condition, color, and clarity is important in determining if the wet carpet is from coolant or water. Coolant will be oily to the touch. It will be slick between your fingers. Water will be clear and not oily. I don't recommend trying this, unless the coolant looks like mostly water, but coolant tastes sweet. Of course it is toxic, but a small taste will not hurt you. Again, I only recommend this if you are unable to absolutely determine if it is water or coolant on the floor.

If it is coolant, then yes, your heater core is leaking. If it is water, then there are three things that could be happening. It is very common for the evaporator drain to clog and for water to fill up the evaporator case and eventually leak onto the floor. The drain is inconveniently located on the fire wall. just to the passenger side of the center of the vehicle, under the hood. There will be a black rubber elbow hanging off of it. This elbow can be removed if necessary. It usually takes a wire of some sort to dig out whatever debris is clogging it. Sometimes, if your lucky, you can access it from under the passenger side dash.

If the drain is clear, it could be a water leak from rain. These are notoriously difficult to locate. In the past, I have set a sprinkler on top of the car to find a water leak from rain.

The third possibility is the evaporator could be holding water. This is usually because the water that would normally drip off of it is freezing to it externally. If this is occurring, there is something wrong with the A/C system and it will need to be diagnosed by a technician.

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Belt squeaking.

A stretched belt or a faulty belt tensioner are the most likely causes. I would recommend having the tensioner checked first by a YourMechanic technician. If the tensioner seems to be working properly, the belt is the next likely cause....

Q: What should I do to maintain the child restraints and seat belts?

While your child restraints and seat belts shouldn’t need much in the way of maintenance, it is important that you know how to care for them properly. After all, the safety of your family hinges on them. Here’s what you...

Q: Who do you know what to replace the AC compressor or the clutch when it is squeals

Hello. I'm sorry to hear of this. If you are turning on the A/C and you are hearing excessive or unusual noise at the compressor, the drive belt is squealing, the belt jumps, or there is unexpected mechanical resistance impeding...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.