The heating system in your vehicle is designed to keep you warm; the engine cooling system of the vehicle is directly
linked to the heating system. If your heating system is not working properly it is important to have it checked out, because your engine cooling system may not be working properly either and an overheated engine can result in engine damage. There are a few basic components in the heating system; blower motor, heater hoses, heater core, heater control valve, and the HVACs control panel. The cooling system components that interact with the heating system are the coolant, thermostat, radiator, and water pump.
The heating system works off of the same coolant that circulates throughout your engine. It is circulated from the radiator through a series of hoses and the heater valve into the heater core. A fan then blows the hot air into the compartment. The heater core, which is located in the dashboard of your car, is really a small radiator. The heater fan blows air through the heater core and into the passenger compartment of your car. The heater core draws its hot coolant from the cylinder head and returns it to the pump -- so the heater works regardless of whether the thermostat is open or closed. Like your engines cooling system radiator, the heater core can suffer some of the same issues. If the heater core becomes clogged with rust or sludge, you will no longer have heat. Also leaks can cause a cabin full of white steam and really mess up your windows. If you smell the sweet aroma of coolant when your heater is on, chances are, you have a small leak in the heater core.
Often times the heater core is buried under the dashboard, and replacing it, is a major job. Many aspects of the heater system can malfunction which require repair. An air cabin filter is used to clean impurities from the air before it enters the ventilation system, when this filter becomes plugged it can slow the airflow in which case the filter needs replacement. An engine coolant leak can develop which hinders the performance of the heater system; these leaks must be repaired before proper heater operation will return. Heater system controls are adjusted by one of two ways, either a manual system is used which is adjusted by the driver, or a climate control computer.