Chevy Cruze: Heater Not Working Diagnosis | Drivetrain Resource (2024)

One of the most common (and inconvenient) problems with the Chevy Cruze is when it has no heat coming from the heater. Not having a functioning heater makes driving much less comfortable, and can be a sign of certain issues.

At the simplest level, there are two main reasons why the heater is not working. If it’s not coming on at all, it’s usually either the blower motor or some other wiring issue. If the heat is blowing, but blowing cold, it has something to do with the coolant getting to the heater core, or the heater core itself.

Cruze No Heat: How the Heater Works

At the simplest level possible, the heater works by passing hot coolant from the engine into a tiny radiator called the heater core. At this point, the blower motor blows air across the it and the newly heated air blows on to the driver and passengers. If the heater has stopped working in your Cruze, this process has failed in one way or another.

Chevy Cruze Heater Not Working: Diagnosis

A word of caution: If there is no coolant in your overflow, you can refill it by adding more to the overflowreservoir. There is almost never a situation where you would need to take the radiator cap off of the radiator to add coolant. The exception to that would be when you would have reason to believe that the hose going from the reservoir to the radiator is clogged. Anytime you’re putting your hand around the radiator or fans in the engine assume that they are hot and that the fans can kick on at any time, even without your key in the ignition.

Low Coolant

While not having enough coolant may make your engine run hotter, it can also cause your Cruze to not be able to create enough heat. Is there isn’t enough line pressure, due to low coolant, then the heater core will not be able to get any coolant itself.

You can verify this by checking the coolant level by taking a peek at the overflow reservoir. The overflow reservoir will be connected to the radiator by a tube coming from the top (usually right by the radiator cap). It should have separate lines to indicate “cool hot” and “cool cold”. Some vehicles only have full hot. Never touch the radiator cap unless the vehicle is ICE COLD.

Bad Thermostat

The job of your Cruze’s thermostat is to regulate the temperature of the engine. It does this by allowing water to enter the engine when it is getting hot, and by keeping coolant from entering while the vehicle warms up.

Sometimes when a thermostat goes bad, it stays stuck open. This allows the coolant to continuously enter the engine. When this happens it’ll feel like the heat is barely working, or you may notice that it’ll work if the vehicle isn’t moving, but if you get on the highway it stops working.

If your Cruze has a built in temperature gauge, take a look at it and see if it is in the spot it is normally in after a bit of driving. If it looks like it is colder than normal, that’s a pretty good indication that there is something wrong with the thermostat.

Heater Core

The heater core itself can go bad. Over time, they are known to clog and fail. If you have a heater core that clogged, it’s not going to be able to pass coolant through. Without the warm coolant going through it, there can be no heat. A bad heater core can also leak, so watch out for that. Feel your passenger floorboard to see if it’s wet.

Heater core’s are typically pretty affordable.

Hose to/from the Heater Core

There are two hoses coming to and from the heater core. They both should feel warm or hot to the touch with the engine on. If one of the hoses is hot, and the other one is cold, that is a pretty good indication that the heater core is clogged. If the neither hose has any heat, you may have air in the cooling system, low fluid, or low pressure.

Water Pump

If you look at your temperature gauge, and the engine is running hotter than normal, but there is not heat coming from the heater you may be having issues with the water pump. Try taking the vehicle out of gear and revving the engine a little. If you feel the heat start to blow hot for a few seconds that’s an indication of a bad water pump or low coolant. Also, the serpentine belt going to the water pump going bad can it not turn as fast as it needs to.

Here’s symptoms of a bad water pump from Autoblog.

Conclusion: Heat Not Working Chevy Cruze

It can be tough to find why your Cruze’s heater is blowing cold. But, using the info above about how and why a heater would fail can make it a lot easier. If there is anything you would like to add, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Chevy Cruze: Heater Not Working Diagnosis | Drivetrain Resource (2024)


Why is my Chevy Cruze not blowing heat? ›

Check the coolant level: Low coolant levels can affect the heater's performance. Check the coolant reservoir and ensure it is at the proper level. If it's low, refill it with the recommended coolant and water mixture. Inspect the thermostat: A malfunctioning thermostat can prevent the heater from working correctly.

How much to fix a heater in a Chevy Cruze? ›

The average cost for a Chevrolet Cruze Heater Core Replacement is between $458 and $532.

Why is my car not heating up? ›

Here are the most common reasons why your car heater isn't blowing hot air. Low coolant: Whether caused by a leak or water evaporation, low coolant is the most common source of poor heater output. Thermostat: A stuck-open thermostat prevents the engine (and coolant) from heating up.

Why is my 2014 Chevy Cruze overheating when the heat is on? ›

The most common reasons a Chevrolet Cruze is overheating are a coolant leak (water pump, radiator, hose etc.), the radiator fan, or a failed thermostat. Coolant leak (water pump, radiator, hose etc.)

Why is my car blowing but no heat? ›

If one or more of these issues is present, your vehicle may blow out cool air rather than heat: Not enough coolant in the engine. Problems with the heater core. Clogged or broken heating controls.

Why is my heat on but cold air coming out of my car? ›

Low Coolant Level

If there isn't enough coolant in your system, the heater core will blow cold air into your car. Solution: If you confirm that a low coolant level is the source of your problem, you simply need to top off your coolant. You may want to check for leaks as well if you just recently refilled your coolant.

Can I drive my car with a bad heater core? ›

If you have a bad heater core, you should bring your car in for repairs right away. Driving with a faulty heater core can be risky, as it can lead to overheating and extensive engine damage. Even a clogged heater core can prevent proper coolant circulation, causing your engine to run hot.

How do I know what's wrong with my car heater? ›

Does Your Car's Heating System Need a Repair?
  1. A musty smell. If you start to smell something humid in the cabin, it means the coolant is leaking from somewhere. ...
  2. Steam from the engine compartment. If your car is smoking from under the hood, it could be because of a coolant leak. ...
  3. Foggy windshield. ...
  4. No heat.
Nov 20, 2019

How to tell if a heater control valve is bad? ›

Signs of a bad heater control valve
  1. No heat coming out.
  2. Heat always on and cannot be turned down.
  3. Heat output changes with no changes in the heat setting.
  4. Temperature gauge reads hot.
  5. Low coolant level.
  6. Coolant leak.

Is there a fuse for the heater in my car? ›

It depends on the design of your specific car, but it's possible that your blower motor has a fuse. The blower motor is what powers the fan on your car heater.

Is my car overheating or is my thermostat bad? ›

If it continues to read too cold or registers too hot, then there is the chance that the temperature gauge should be replaced. If working correctly and your vehicle keeps overheating, then there may be an issue with the coolant or engine itself. If too cold, then the thermostat could be stuck open, causing overcooling.

Does Chevy Cruze have a cooling system recall? ›

What makes are affected? The coolant issue can be found in 2010-2019 model year Chevrolet Cruze vehicles. Affected vehicles typically have Eco-Tec 1.8: four-cylinder engine, however, the coolant issue has also been found in Chevrolet vehicles with 1.4L or 1.6L turbo engines.

How to fix overheating car Chevy Cruze? ›

You may be experiencing a leak of coolant from a cracked head gasket, radiator, water pump, or a hose. You should check all of these items, starting with hoses, for damage or cracks. The radiator fan may be faulty, which can be replaced for $88 to $138. You also may have a faulty thermostat.

Is it expensive to fix a car heater? ›

How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Car Heater Core? The price ranges from $800 and $1,000. The best way to find out is by getting a quote from at least two shops in your area. You'll want to know exactly how much labor will go into a replacement and if there are any additional costs, such as disposal fees.

Is it expensive to fix a Chevy Cruze? ›

The average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Chevrolet Cruze is $545, compared to an average of $526 for compact cars and $652 for all vehicle models.

What is the price fixing a car heater? ›

Suppose you fix it by hiring a professional, the total cost range between $800 and $1,000. For fixing the issue by yourself, the cost ranges from $100 to $300.

Is a heater core expensive to fix? ›

Most vehicles require five to seven hours to complete the repair, but some take as long as 15 hours. Labor rates also vary from shop to shop but expect labor fees to start around $500 to $600 for most cars. Others may cost as much as $1200 to $1500.

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