Mazda minivan LX 2003 heating system

A month ago we noticed that the rear heater in the van was not blowing heat. Took it to the dealer, they could not diagnose the problem, without leaving it for the day and charging about $200.00 just to diagnose. Didn’t have time to leave the car. Today, when I started the car around 7:00am in the 30degree temp. the heater in the front of the car took a long time to warm up. Later this afternoon as I was driving with my daughter, the temp. gauge registered hot. No engine light came on. Fortunately we were one mile from a Mazda dealer, but they were closed only the service reps were there. They didn’t know what the problem was and couldn’t work on it for 2 days. Had it towed to the Mazda dealer in VA where I have it serviced regularly. Does anyone know what the problem might be and has anyone had any problems with the heating systems in the Mazda minivan? Thanks for any information that you might be able to share prior to my talking with the dealer.

Step one. Say after me “No car needs to be serviced by a dealer, except for services covered by the original warranty.”

Dealers are no better or worse than independent mechanics, only more expensive.

It should take a mechanic about two minutes to diagnose the problem. … Well maybe a few more. In any case it appears you have a leak of some kind. You are low on coolant. Why??? I can’t see from here. I might suggest that I would not drive a car a mile if the temperature gauge was topped out.

Thanks for your comments and advice. I understand your prejudice against dealers. I just wanted to share with you my happy ending. I got a phone call this morning from the dealer telling me that they had discovered an airpocket in the coolant system, supposedly that was why there wasn’t any heat coming from the front and rear vents and that there would be no charge for them to flush out the system and replace the coolant. Not bad for a dealer and the car was ready within an hour. Overall, my experience with my dealer(which is not where I purchased the car) has been excellent. The car has over 80,000 miles and so far, we haven’t had any major or costly repairs, just scheduled maintenance. I have shopped around for a mechanic near where I live(Bethesda, MD just outside of Wash. DC) and they are all overpriced and extremely busy. Even the “Consumer Checkbook,” a non-profit advocacy group, has ranked the dealer we use to be honest and reasonably priced. Additionally, when I bring in the car, if the work requires more than an hour of time, they will give me a loaner car at no cost, certainly a nice added benefit. Again, thanks for your advice and hopefully the car will be trouble free for another 80,000 miles.