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Vehicles driving on wintry Long Island, NY, roads.

Four Easy Ways to Make Sure Your Car's Heater Is Ready for Winter on Long Island

Posted at Fri, Oct 1, 2021 9:00 AM

With winter looming right around the corner, savvy drivers are making sure their vehicles are ready for the chillier weather. One of the most important things for winter driving is a functioning heating system, which is easy to forget about when cruising around in the hottest months. It is never safe to just assume that everything will be in working order once winter hits, and so to help you make sure your Toyota’s heater is ready for winter here on Long Island, our Westbury Toyota experts have put together a quick and easy-to-follow guide.

Listen for the Sound of Blower Noises

The blower is the part of your vehicle’s heating system that sends the heated air into the cabin. Like every other part of your car, the electric motor for the blower can wear out over time. When this happens, there will be reduced air flow (or even none at all) which not only means that you and your passengers will be cold when driving, but that window defrosting is compromised. This is obviously undesirable and unsafe, so before winter arrives it is a good idea to fire up the heating system and listen closely for the sound of the blower. You can also drive around with the heating system running, adjusting the speeds, and listen for any unusual sounds with the blower. Clunking, metallic sounds, or screeching when the heater is running can all be indicative of a problem with the blower’s motor.

Check Out the Cooling System as Well

It may seem strange, but in order to determine if your Toyota’s heating system is working as it should be you should also check out the cooling system. The additives that are in the antifreeze will start to break down over time and when this happens, it becomes harder for the temperature to be regulated properly. This also affects the heater, as the antifreeze does not resist the cold as well as it did before. The heating system utilizes the circulation of heated antifreeze (before it is cooled down in the radiator) to keep the cabin nice and warm in the winter. If your car’s cooling system isn’t functioning properly, none of the vents in your vehicle’s cabin will blow heated air.

Check the Air Conditioning System

You should try to run your air conditioning in the winter just to see if it works. The reasons for this is that your Toyota’s heating system actually utilizes the air conditioner to dry moist air, as this quickly improves the speed of side and windshield defrosting. Air conditioning that is operating at peak condition will make your defrosting process in the winter much simpler.

Check for Heater Core Leaks

Because of how closely tied the heating and cooling systems are, a problem with one can lead to a problem with the other. Booth coolant and antifreeze have corrosion inhibitors that protectively coat the surfaces within the cooling system, which includes the heater core. Over time the corrosion inhibitors will deplete and when that happens, the cooling system can suffer from corrosion. Corrosion can lead to contaminants and leaks and can also result in issues with the radiator and the thermostat.

There are a few different indicators of a leaking heater core:

  • A vapor coming out of the vents
  • A sweet smell emitting from the vents
  • Coolant pooled underneath where your car was parked
  • Coolant leaking into the floor pan on the passenger side of your vehicle’s cabin (depending on vehicle design)

If you see any of these, particularly the first two, book your car in with a mechanic immediately as inhaling the vapor can be hazardous to your health.

Be Winter Ready

Because winter throws so many inconveniences at drivers, it is always a good idea for Long Island drivers to be as prepared for the cold weather months as possible. Given how important a vehicle’s heating system is on the coldest days, it only makes sense to ensure that it is up to task. Follow our guide to make sure that your Toyota is ready to handle the chilliest days ahead so that you and your family can drive safely while remaining cozy and warm.

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