A heater core is crucial for keeping your car warm during the winter. You don't want to be stuck without a functioning core since both your heater and defroster will cease to work without it. As you go through your winter auto maintenance checklist, keep an eye out for these signs that may indicate your heater core is failing. 

How to Tell if Your Heater Core Is Dying 

1. Interior Fog 

Fog inside of your car indicates that instead of blowing hot air up toward your window to defrost it, the core is sending air into your car's cabin area. Malfunctioning defrosters can pose a safety issue since it's challenging to see out of frosty windows, and interior fog makes your car feel humid and uncomfortable. See an auto maintenance professional quickly if you notice haze inside of your vehicle. 

2. Cold Air in the Cabin 


Heater cores have tubes that push heated coolant through the heater system. Then, the liquid gets transported to the radiator so the cycle can start again. During the process, air blows across the hot coolant, which puts off the warm air that flows through your vents. If your heater is on, but the air isn't warm, your heater core may be to blame. Hot coolant could be escaping through the tubes instead of staying in the system like it should. 

3. A Sweet Smell 

Coolant puts off a sweet smell similar to candy or syrup. If you notice this scent and can't determine the cause, your vehicle could be leaking coolant. Also, if you're frequently topping off your coolant or if you notice a pool of liquid beneath your vehicle, your heater core could use some attention. Keep an eye out for the brightly colored liquid or visit an auto maintenance specialist to determine if you have a leak.


Brothers Tire Sales of Kannapolis, NC, can help with heater core issues. Cumulatively, their technicians have more than 200 years of auto repair experience. This shop can also help with tire replacements and repairs. They carry top brands including Michelin® & BF Goodrich®. Learn more about their services online or schedule an appointment by calling (704) 933-2203.