Avalon Heater on the Fritz

2002 Toyota Avalon XLS

about 100,000 miles

My heater suddenly quit sending heat to the vents that heats the ‘foot area’ of the car, and most of it comes out the window defroster and the vent near my face! Most disturbing when I am on a long trip and need warmth, but don’t want it in my face making me drowsy.

I need to get this fixed, but dread hearing from the mechanic that it is an electric problem that will take 20 hours to fix because they have to “remove the engine to get to it…”

Anyone have any ideas what could be wrong? Is it expensive?

Thank you in advance for taking time to answer! NieleA

Most likely, it results from a bad servo motor or two. These are small vacuum-powered motors that move the little “doors” inside the HVAC system in order to direct air to the floor, or the defroster vents, or the A/C vents. If a vacuum line is disconnected (it does happen, occasionally) or if a servo motor goes bad, the result will be exactly what you describe.

No, it won’t take 20 hours to fix, and it won’t require the removal of the engine to fix either. While I can’t predict exactly how many minutes it will take to fix this problem, I don’t believe that the repair will be extremely expensive.

You need a new mechanic. I have never heard of anything that silly… Well maybe some web sites selling devices to turn water into fuel.

As VDC wrote, it likely just a vacuum problem. Most cars default to defrost when the vacuum fails. I have never heard of anyone needing 20 hours to find an fix it. It may be a few hours if they have to get into the heating system (not in the engine area) but not 20. Usually it is under a hour.

Depends on your definition of expensive. You could get lucky but I guess at least $500 given with few parts as these things are more labor intensive than anything else.

Thank you all for giving me some ideas on what this probably is. I was joking about the “20 hours” and having to “remove the engine” to fix; but being a “little woman” they Could tell me that and what would I know…
I buy Toyotas so fortunately(unfortuately–when something like this comes us)my contacts with mechanics are limited.
Thanks again for taking time to comment on this. I REALLY appreciate it! NieleA