How To Turn On Heat In Car – The Process Made Simple in Several Steps

Air conditioners and heat are very important in cars. Both play a specific role in keeping the cabin cool and warm. However, if you live in places like Fairbanks, Alaska, you’ll agree that a heater is an essential component every car should have.

Car heaters keep us comfortable in cars, especially when commuting on that early morning drive or during winter. Knowing how to turn on heat in a car is as important as having a heater. It’ll be useless without turning it on.

Here, we’ll discuss how to turn on heat in car, Ford, Toyota, and other car models. You’ll also learn why your car won’t heat when you turn on the heat.

how to turn on heat in car ford

How to turn the heat on in a car

Before turning on the heat in any car, you need to start the engine and let it idle until it reaches the normal operating temperature. The temperature gauge dial should be in the middle or close to it on the dashboard. After that, you switch the climate control button to heat and turn on the fan to send the heat into the cabin.

Here’s a simplified guide on how to turn on heat in car, Nissan, or your respective car model.

  • Step 1: Get into the car, start the engine, and let it idle until it reaches the normal operating temperature. The engine needs to be warm before turning on the AC; else, you won’t get any heat inside the cabin.
  • Step 2: Once the engine reaches the normal operating temperature, locate the car heater control panel. It is usually located at the lower left-hand side of the dashboard.
  • Step 3: Switch on the demister. Depending on your car design, you may have front and rear demister. The front and rear demister usually have two separate controls.
  • Step 4: Direct the airflow using the air vent lever or knobs.
  • Step 5: Set the fan speed using the control knob or lever.
  • Step 6: Set your desired temperature using the control buttons. Most cars have different control buttons for the driver and passenger air vents.

This simplified how to turn on heat in car, Honda, Hyundai, Impala, Chevy, or any car model. It’s important to note that your car heater can start blowing cold or lukewarm air or stop working altogether. If this happens, do not mistake it for not knowing how to switch on the heater. It could be your car heater has stopped working.

car heater control panel


Which button is for heat in car?

Cars come in different designs, and so are their functions. So, it may be a bit hard to say which button is for the heat and its location in every car. However, most car controls and functions are similar. The heater in a car uses two primary functions – the blower and the temperature regulator.

So, to switch on the heater, turn on the fan blower to your desired range and switch the temperature dial on the control panel. Bear in mind that the blower and the temperature gauge control the heater and AC. Therefore, when using the heater, you need to turn the temperature gauge to the red zone.

Why won’t my heat turn on in my car?

The heater in your car is not an isolated component. Several components work in unison to provide heat in the cabin; if any of these components stop working, the car heater might not work as intended. Depending on the faulty component, you may get lukewarm or cold air when you turn on the heater.

The possible causes of a heater that won’t turn on are a low coolant level, a faulty thermostat, a clogged heater core, a faulty heater fan, a lousy blower resistor, radiator leaks, broken or defective HVAC controls, and faulty wiring or blown fuses.

How long does it take for heat to turn on in car?

It depends on your vehicle model and engine type. If you have a late-model SUV or compact car with a four-cylinder engine, it’ll take around 10 to 15 minutes of idling or driving for the cabin to warm up fully. Older models with larger engine sizes will take only 5 to 10 minutes. This 5 to 15 minutes interval is to allow the engine to get to the normal operating temperature.

Do you turn AC on for heat?

It boils down to personal preference. You don’t necessarily have to turn on the AC when the heater is on. However, turning on the air conditioning system while the heater is on will not damage anything. Instead, it will help to dehumidify the incoming air.

Why is the heater in my car blowing cold air?

Car heaters are meant to direct heat into the car during that early morning drive or winter season. If the heater sends cold air instead of heat, something is wrong with the heating or cooling system. Undoubtedly, some of the heating and cooling components work in unison.

The possible reasons your car heater is blowing cold air instead of heat are air in the cooling system, lousy thermostat, low coolant level, broken heater control, jammed blend door actuator, or clogged heater core.

What happens if you don’t warm up your car before driving?

Allowing your engine to warm up before driving will enhance proper oil circulation to every nook and cranny part of the engine. On the other hand, if you don’t warm up the car before hitting the road, you risk damaging the engine pistons, which may warp or cause accelerated wear on the internal engine components. If this happens, it’ll require overhauling the engine, leaving expensive repair bills on the table.

Why does my heat take so long to turn on in my car?

The heating system in a car does not generate heat on its own. It works with the engine heat. The engine has to warm up to the normal operating temperature and transfer the heat to the circulating coolant. The hot coolant then travels to the heater core, which helps to send the heat into the cabin to comfort the driver and passengers. The process will take longer during winter when the outside temperature is very low.

Other factors that can make the car take longer before it provides heat include stuck open thermostats, faulty heater valves, and low coolant levels in the system.

Final Words

Undoubtedly, knowing how to turn on heat in car is a common skill every motorist should know. It does not only keep the driver and passengers comfortable during winter, but it also helps to defrost the windshield and windows without letting ambient air into the car or turning on the AC.

 This is a simplified guide that works on any car model. However, leaving you here without a visual clarification will be unfair. So watch this Youtube video for a visual presentation on how to turn on heat in the Nissan Sentra and other car models.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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