Learning more about the side effects of bypassing heater core can save you from massive headaches and unnecessary expenses.
If you encounter an issue with a coolant leak, perhaps you have heard of “bypassed heater core” as one of the solutions.
But of course, this all depends on where this particular leak comes from. In some cases, one solution could be a bypassed heater core. This is why knowing what it does and how it is done are important things to understand.
First of all, a heater core is a component of the engine cooling and HVAC system in your vehicle. This small radiator is attached to the cooling system and diverts hot coolants to your heater core. Then, the core will become warm, as well as the air when you have the fan blowing air through the core.
Next, this warm air enters the air conditioning vents. Now, you have warm air circulating in the cabin of your vehicle to keep you nice and warm, which is important during the cooler months. So, what is good about bypassing heater core and what are the risks? Let’s talk more about these topics below.
Bypassing Heater Core – What Are The Risks
When you notice a leak in your core, it may be necessary to bypass the heater core. Over time, this component can develop some damage such as a hole, as time passes by. Thus, the coolant tends to leak out. When this happens, this results in a loss of coolant, along with some malfunctioning to the heater.
Your engine will not cool more efficiently while at the same time, some engine parts may be prone to damages. These damages may be an expensive and tedious thing to fix.
But if you do not want to replace the heater core, bypassing it may be a practical option. This process involves taking the heater core out and connecting the exit hose and inlet, which connects to your heater core.
Then, your leaking core is removed, allowing the cooling system to function as normal.
With this in mind, you may wonder if it is fine to not replace the heater core at all and just bypass it. The truth is that it is possible. This is also a way to help your car to run smoothly without racking up massive expenses.
However, there are pitfalls to this process. When you bypass the heater core, there won’t be a heater in your car. This can be a problem when you live in a very cold area since it would be hard to cope with the colder temperature.
On the other hand, if you don’t rely on your heater that much, then it should be perfectly fine if you bypass the heater core. The downside of removing it should not be an issue at all.
Bypassing Heater Core – Why It May Be Necessary
First of all, why may it be needed to bypass a heater core? When your heater core is displaying signs of damage, bypassing it may be an option. Here are some of the symptoms of a heater core malfunction.
1. Poor performance
The most obvious initial sign of a heater core not doing well is when it appears to be functioning abnormally. Perhaps the hot coolant escapes through the heater core because of a hole that developed. Thus, the fan may not be as warm as how you want it to be. Moreover, the air being blown is not as strong.
There may also be a clog in the heater core. This is why you may have to flush it instead of bypassing completely.
2. Coolant in the car
Your heater core is located behind your car’s dashboard. When there is a leak, you may notice the coolant getting into your vehicle’s interior. Inspect the front carpets for coolant stains, which means bypassing a heater core may be an option to consider.
You may also notice a coolant smell in your car, in addition to a stain. The smell is often sweet and somewhat fruity. Check the condition of your heater core if you observe this smell inside the car.
3. Fog in the windows
There is also an instance when your windows may fog up when there’s too much coolant leaking out. Just the right amount of coolant can cause a mist or fog on the windows. It is difficult to rinse out and dangerous at the same time, since coolant contains ethylene glycol that can harm your health.
While breathing this chemical is not fatal, it can irritate your eyes and lungs. So, it is best to consider getting the issue fixed, in which case bypassing the heater core may be worth it.
4. Engine overheat
Lastly, your engine may overheat because of a malfunctioning in your heater core. If you notice the temperature gauge going up, your heater core may be an issue.
Bypassing Your Heater Core
Once you are certain that your heater core is not working normally, it may be time to bypass it. To do this, here are some steps to consider:
- Remove the dashboard cover of your car, including the AC grating or even a large section of your dashboard. Do not disconnect electrical connectors as you do so.
- Disconnect your heater core from the hose by loosening some bolts.
- Use a hose coupler or connector to connect two ends of your hose, which then bypasses the heater core.
- Add more coolant to the cooling system when need be. Then, turn your car on.
- Check for coolant leaking and run the car for a few minutes to make sure the engine is not overheating.
- Once everything appears to be normal, reassemble your dashboard trim.
Do keep in mind that this is not a very easy process to do, particularly with newer vehicles. This is why there is an option to bypass the heater core without removing this component.
You only need to cut the hoses or remove them from the interior of your engine bay. Then, connect the hoses using a plastic tubing with a smaller diameter than your hoses to ensure a snug fit. You can also use a PVC plastic tubing.
Then, insert the tube and tighten the clamps right over it. Refill your coolant if need be, turn the car on and inspect for leaks and overheating issues.
Additional Information To Consider
Bypassing heater core will prevent your vehicle from heating, which can be a problem when you live in a cool climate. This process can also be tedious to do, and one mistake can generate more problems.
This is why some people would rather replace the heater core than bypassing it, so they can still have warm air in the car, which is essential during the winter months.
However, replacing the heater core can be expensive. In fact, it may cost about $560 up to $950. The heater core may go as cheap as around $80, but then there are labor costs to consider. Other added costs include the tubing, which can go up to $100.
Bypassing a heater core is a time-consuming and labor-intensive job. There are also risks involved, which is why replacing it may seem to be a more attractive option. You can retain your vehicle’s heating system while maintaining the resale value of your car.