I think my heater core is starting to go bad.Now that winter is here,the defroster has to be on high all the time to keep the windshield clear while the other windows fog and ice up on the inside. I do smell a faint smell of anti-freeze, but have't notice any leaks or low coolant leavel. I did but some of that "raditor fix a leak" in the other day, but that didn't help. I guess the next thing to do is to replace the heater core. What's the best way to get to the core?
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Re: windows fog up,small anti-freeze smell
The early sign of a heater core leak is the smell of coolant, the reason is that only vapor is leaking now, it will gradually get worse in most cases and coolant will start comming out the heater box condensation drain.
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It's most likely your heater core that is causing the problem it could be leaking either from the core it's self causing anti freeze to get into your vents or from one of the hoses leading to it.....I am assuming that when your heat is on there is a dampness in the air this is what is causing the windows to fog up.
If it was me, the first thing I'd do is go check my fluid level in my radiator. I'd add fresh anti-freeze, if I hadn't done so in a year or more. Your defrosters won't work properly if you are too low on fluids in your radiator, OR your thermostat is malfunctioning. Replacing your thermostat might be a good job for a mechanic. Good luck.
This may be due to a bad heater core or dirty core with a plugged water drain, first see if the a/c works. turn it on and see if the air gets cold and if the ac compressor works.
The way the defrost works to keep windows from fogging up is that when the front defroster is tuned on the ac should also be on, on most cars when you go to defrost it will turn ac on automatic. the system then uses hot and cold air to remove the moisture in the air to avoid window fogging. if your a/c is not working then that may cause window to fog, but if you are also getting a smell then the drain that lets out condensation may be plugged and then water builds up and also mold from always being wet and when heat is on you smell that.
i want you to run the defrost and when windows fog up wipe window with hand and see if it is greasy . if it feels oily then you may have a bad heater core, the core leaks coolant out and steam and causing windows to fog up with a flim of grease.
no heat is probably low coolant or bad thermostat,although you have fog and smell ! the heating and cooling systems are closed systems the only way the windows fog is the coolant is hot and steams inside the car due to some leak inside the heater core box. as well as the smell being present. Now it is possible that a little leak has occured where the coolant supply or return line connects to the heater core and is running into the car which is running onto the core and creating steam and smell. hopefully it is a easy clamp tighten fix for you.
you could also be developing a heater core leak. if you start seeing fluid on the carpet or windows fog on the inside when defrosters are on, you got trouble. better to fix the problem now then in the middle of winter.
Sounds like a possible heater core failure(hole in it) the smell indicates to me the coolant(anti-freeze) is leaking into the passenger compartment. Check the carpet in front of the front passenger seat for moisture, this would confirm heater core leak. Good luck !
The mildew smell you refer to could be anti-freeze. When a heater core starts leaking it may allow anti-freeze (which circulates through it for heat) to be blown through the ducts onto the windshield in defrost mode. The repair is to have the heater core replaced. It may wait for the thermostat to open and allow the coolant to circulate before you notice it. Occasionally the carpet on the passenger side may be wet from leakage.