CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser - No heat

2008 car heater went out in pt touring cruiser. Very cold in Texas without a car heater. Took to my mechanic and he could not fix without taking everything apart to get to the heating coil. So he disconnected and by passed the heater and we do have air. He suggested we go to the dealer to fix. Is it worth it? We purchased a car heater that fits into the car adapter and it does not stay on long to warm up the car. I am so disappointed.

Not sure why the disappointed remark is there . Things fail on vehicles and yours is 11 years old. I think the mechanic knew that this is an involved job and knew you would be upset at the final price. You don’t need a dealer for a 2008 so call around to find a shop with more experience on this repair.

1 Like

Chances are the dash needs to be removed to access the core. As Volvo_70 said, shop around for estimates, dealer is not required. You could get an estimate from them though. I would expect most shops to charge a diagnosis fee, but you might get lucky. Did you mechanic state the problem on your report? This might be beneficial in obtaining estimates.
As far as the electric heater you purchased. Rarely are these units satisfactory, no more than attempting to heat your living room with a 1000 watt space heater.

I had to replace one of these heater cores before. It’s rated an 8 hour labor bill. You have to remove the whole duct assembly and split it to get the core out. The whole dash, steering column and center console has to come out. No shortcuts.

Does a heater core actually get so clogged that coolant cannot flow through it? If so, how can it be cleared out? Or is it a goner? It shouldn’t be so hard to find out if it’s clogged - radiator shops used to test the flow of radiators. Flow through a heater core is about the same thing.

I question the diagnosis. I know a neglected cooling system can present problems. A leaking heater core is one of those things that happens now and again. But clogged, without other cooling system problems?