Car Heater Core Replacement Cost
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Heater Core Replacement Price

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 | Written by CPA Alec Pow
First Published on August 20, 2020 | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popivker

The vehicle’s heating system core, when analyzed up close, looks rather similar to the radiator.

Working in the very same way, the heater core is installed below the control panel and will supply the heat needed for the blower motor in order to heat up the interior of your car.

Heater core replacement cost

The price of a heater core replacement, like all car repairs, will depend on the vehicle you drive, the mechanic you employ, and your location. Based on these aspects, the typical price of the repair work can range anywhere from $475 to more than $1,350 for both labor and the parts.

The majority of the expenses will go towards the labor, however, when it comes to just the part, expenses can vary from $30 to more than $150, again, based on the aspects pointed out before like the car you drive and the brand of the part you purchase.

Getting a range of quotes online, we included our findings in the table listed below to aid you to prepare for a quote you might get.

Car Make/Model and Average Quoted Rate (labor+ parts)

  • Dodge Caravan – $550-$800
  • Ford F-150 – $600-$860
  • Ford Focus – $435-$750
  • Honda Accord – $825-$1,000
  • Jeep Cherokee – $600-$925
  • Mercedes-Benz ML550 – $700-$960
  • Nissan Altima – $725-$975
  • Nissan Maxima – $580-$825
  • Toyota Camry – $525-$900
  • Toyota Corolla – $750-$1,150
  • VW Passat – $650-$950
  • Honda Civic – $600-$800
  • Jeep Wrangler$500-$950
  • Lexus ES350 – $625-$950

Changing the heater core

To make sure that the heater core is the issue, your mechanic will typically try to smell the inside of the cabin as well the carpet underneath the dashboard as this can usually show if the heater core is having problems heating your cabin due to the coolant dripping from the part. If too much of this coolant is dripping, then it can either leak onto the automobile’s carpet, making it create a puddle, and/or just develop a distinct odor in general. While this is generally the very best method to make sure that this part is the issue, the mechanic can also visually check the part for any other issues.

The heater core, the majority of the time, will be placed behind the dashboard, often under the center of the passenger side, and will have some sort of housing buried behind the majority of the dashboard’s parts. Before getting it removed, your mechanic will first detach the battery and will then get rid of the steering wheel and any external doors from parts such as the kick panels, fuse box, and speakers, to name just a few.

Also read about the cost of brake pad replacement, paintless dent repair, and muffler delete installation.

Next, the radio, glove box, and any other parts, such as the gauges and controls, blocking the heating system core will also be taken off.

As soon as all of these parts are taken out of the way, it will then be time to get rid of the whole dashboard, while keeping the a/c undamaged to avoid Freon from dripping into the cabin.

Next, the 2 heating system pipes are detached, followed by getting rid of any duct and any elements from obstructing the heater core.

Now, the heater core location must then be easily accessible, and the mechanic will then have the ability to detach the core housing in order to access the needed heater part.

The heater core part will be taken off, changed and the whole procedure will be done in reverse order to get your vehicle in working order as soon as possible.

From start to finish, this whole task, for even the most skilled experts, can take upwards of 4 to 6 hours.

How does the heating system core work?

Ford Heater CoreWhenever the engine water pump is running, it will distribute the engine coolant throughout the heater core, warming the core to the engine temperature level. When the preferred temperature level is reached, the blower motor will then blow air across this core, sending out the heat from the engine into the interior of the car. On more recent models of cars and trucks, nevertheless, the process works in a different way as the blend door actuators will change the circulation of air away from, or partially away from the core to decrease the amount of heat let into the interior, according to, whereas older vehicles will just count on a single part referred to as a heater control valve, a part which has the ability to stop the circulation of engine coolant from going into the heater core.

Indications of a malfunctioning heater core.

Odd smells: An odd odor said to be comparable to that of a “melon” smell, might originate from the vents while the heating unit is on, frequently due to the engine coolant going into the cabin of the car.

Dull heat: The heating system, even if at its maximum temperature, might just blow lukewarm air, which typically indicates that the engine is either getting too hot, the head gasket has stopped working, and/or the heater core is obstructed.

Steam or fog: Steam or fog, in many cases, might discharge from the vents when you turn on the heat and will fog up the windows, making it difficult to see through.

Coolant leakages inside: Take a close look at the floor mats and the carpet below your dashboard to see if coolant is dripping and pooling up on the carpet, typically the primary indication that your heater core is defective. Aside from the leakages, you might discover that your car will need coolant a lot more than it generally should.

Tip to remember

A defective heater core is frequently due to bad engine upkeep and as the part deteriorates, it can result in many failures given that the deterioration seen within the part can be the culprit of the majority of the issues. For many car owners, nevertheless, the part generally lasts for the full lifetime of the automobile as long as the automobile is kept up on its upkeep schedule, especially with coolant flushes done on time.

Alec Pow
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