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it sounds as if you have two problems,one the heater core is plugged and two you have a heater core that is leaking.the leak is shown when you use the defroster by the smell and chances are there is a light film of antifreeze on the windsheild.and the plugged heater core is shown by no heat.check the radiator to make sure the coolant level is full and the overflow bottle is at the full level. as a low coolant level in the radiator will cause no heat.with the car warmed up(radiator coolant hot), check the heater hoses at the firewall were they enter the heater core they should be the same temperature from one hose to the other.if the coolant level is up and the hoses are the same temperature then the heater core is plugged.if the coolant temperature is the same from hose to hose but not hot to the touch the thermostat may be weak and needs replacing.either way the heater core will need to be replaced as it is leaking into the heater box assembly
The first thing to check is the level of your antifreeze (engine coolant) If it is low, the heater will not have any flow of the hot coolant to heat the inside of your car. If the coolant level is low, you need to find out why it is low. The coolantis in a sealed system and you should never have to add any to it. The only way it is going to be low is if there is a leak somewhere in the cooling system.
If the coolant is not low, the problem could be a bad thermostat. The thermostat controls the flow of coolant through the radiator and thus keeps the engine at operating temperature.
If the engine is at operating temperature and the coolant level is ok, then you probably have a problem with the blend-air doors or the controls for them that adjust the temperature of the air coming out of your heater and vents.
Start simple, check the coolant level, if it's too low, hot coolant won't reach the heater core, resulting in no heat. If the level drops further, the engine overheats. So check the level 1st, if it's ok, what does the engine temp gauge indicate? Is it running cold, normal, hot?
when the level of coolant drops in the motor the heater core is the first to be without
because it sets up high
so you need to check the level
and check where the coolant is going
to make the level drop
low radiator coolant level OR bad thermostat and Lord I hope not,a leaky heater core.Check fluid level first the look at thermostat replacement only after the level check. Good luck and bless you in advance if you should catch a cold...from the cold!
Check antifreeze level, if it is low coolant may not flow through heater core. If coolant level is ok feel the heater hose with engine running at normal operating temp and heat on high, if one hose is much cooler than the other you have a bad heat control valve or a pluged heater core.
If your "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" light is on, you need to have that checked out first.
If not, the next thing you should check is your engine coolant level. (Antifreeze) If the coolant level is low, the engine coolant does not circulate through the heater core and the the heater doesn't work. The coolant level could be low for a number of reasons including a leaky hose, water pump, or head gasket. In any case, if it is found to be low, you need to find out why.
If the coolant level is OK then the thermostat function needs to be checked to make sure that the engine is reaching operating temperature.
If all of the above checks out OK, then the heater control valve and/or the blend air door in the HVAC housing needs to be checked for proper operation. (NOTE: some cars are not equipped with a heater control valve)
Is the fan working and blowing air but there is now heat?
If there is no heat and air is blowing out check your radiator level. If the engine coolant is too low water will not get to your heater core. Remeber check the radiator level and not just the coolant reservoir. Becareful when working around a hot car. wait til the car cools down to check the level of the coolant in the radiator.
If the fan blows only cold air, then you might have a restriction on the heater core. The heater core is like a small radiator inside your dash. The coolant flow through it can be restricted by corrosion. The lack of flow of coolant through the heater core will result in a lack of warm air inside the car. Flushing out the heater core may help. If not, you will have to replace it. I would say though, 80% of the time the cause is just restriction. Get the heater core flushed and I am sure you will get your heat back.