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How to Ensure That Your Car's Heater Is Ready for the Upcoming Season

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Folklore suggests that if you live in a warm climate, your blood gets thinner and you're not able to cope with chilly temperatures so well. Whether this is biologically true or not, a majority of Australians do get used to toasty conditions and are uncomfortable when the first cold snap comes along. So that you can be as prepared as possible for those early-morning car journeys, what do you need to do in order to make sure that your car's heater will do its job?

How Does Your Heater Work?

Your vehicle is able to provide you with "free" heat by using the energy generated by the engine. Water is pumped around the system in order to cool the motor and is routed through the radiator at the front of the car. Usually, this heated water will be cooled down by airflow as the vehicle drives along. However, some of this water is diverted into a secondary radiator to provide some comfort for you and your passengers. This radiator is situated between the engine and the passenger compartment, where a separate fan blows warm air through ventilation ducts.

Is It Open for Business?

To make sure that there is an adequate amount of hot water in this secondary radiator, a thermostat is built into the system to regulate water flow accordingly. It's quite a simple device, but sometimes it doesn't work properly. The regulator can jam in the open or closed position and when this happens, you may get some hot water, but not enough.

Could the System Be Blocked?

Another problem may arise if sediment is allowed to accumulate within the pipes. This can happen naturally, as "gunk" attaches to the inside of the pipes from the coolant or antifreeze that you add to the mixture. It's also possible that tiny pieces of rubber can detach from the inside of various hoses, contributing to the issue. As this builds up gradually, the system become more inefficient and has to be flushed out.

What Should You Do Next?

While it is quite simple to replace a broken thermostat, it's not easy to clean out the radiator system. Sometimes, you will need to use compressed air and you may well have to do this several times before noticing any improvement.

If you don't do it properly, you may damage some of the internal components. This is why you'd be much better off getting a trained mechanic to take a look. They will be used to flushing these systems and will also have the right type of equipment on hand.