Skip to Content

How To Clean A Heater Core With Vinegar

You may want to clean your heater core because you are experiencing less airflow in your vehicle. We've got you covered if you are wondering how to do this using vinegar. We've researched this method, and here's what we've gathered.

Here is the guide on how to clean your heater core with vinegar:

  1. Gather materials
  2. Lift your car up
  3. Locate heater core hoses
  4. Pull out the hoses
  5. Apply water through the hoses
  6. Blow the hose
  7. Apply vinegar
  8. Blow vinegar out
  9. Apply coolant
  10. Place the hoses back
  11. Test the engine

This article will discuss the step-by-step process of cleaning your heater core with vinegar, whether it is safe to always clean it with vinegar, and how often you should clean it. Keep reading to learn all the answers to these interesting queries.

Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!

A Guide To Cleaning A Heater Core With Vinegar

Old car parts. The heater core inside the car. The metal part is made of aluminium for the operation of the stove of the cabin.

A heater core is an exchanger that transmits heat into a vehicle's cabin. This heat derives from engine temperature coolant that circulates throughout a vehicle's heater core.

A functional and clean heater core is essential, especially during winter. This can make sure that you can receive the amount of heat you need during winter. Thus, ensure your heater core is clean and free from clogs so that it will not affect the performance of your heating system.

A very efficient technique to remove all the dirt and residue gathered over time is to flush your heater core with vinegar. Below is the guide to cleaning a heater core with vinegar:

1. Gather Materials

Prepare the materials needed before starting the work. For this method, you may need a funnel, pliers, warm water, cloth, and plain vinegar.

2. Lift Your Car Up

Place a jack under your car to lift the portion of your car where your work will take place. The lifting of your vehicle will allow you for more effortless operation. 

Click here to see this Big Red floor jack on Amazon.

3. Locate Heater Core Hoses

coolant car engine detail / close up of machine new engine motor checking and cleaning for deliver customers in the car service

Knowing where the heater core is will enable you to make a quick diagnosis. Heater core hoses are near your water pump and are usually on the passenger side.

After you find the water pump, look at the back of it. That is where you can find the hoses, which are also near the firewall.

4. Pull Out the Hoses

Always ensure your engine is off and cool when disconnecting the hoses.

Before pulling the hoses out, place a bucket under them to catch coolant and not spill it all over your place. After placing the bucket, pull out the two hoses, and you may see that coolant is going out of them.

Some hoses consist of clips that make them attach to their bases firmly. You can unfasten the clips using pliers. 

Click here to see these pliers set on Amazon.

5. Apply Water Through the Hoses

Make sure to identify the inlet and the outlet hose. Remember that the coolant usually runs through the inlet hose. You need to flush your heater core in its opposite direction because it can easily remove and flush the clog.

To locate the inlet hose, look for the heater control valve. Move the outlet hose above the heater core and attach the funnel. Ensure the hose is elevated enough so the water can easily flow through it. 

Click here to see this funnel on Amazon.

Slowly apply water to the outlet hose. Avoid adding much pressure on water because this can damage your heater core. The acceptable pressure is typically 12 psi.

The poured water will come out of your inlet hose, located below. 

6. Blow the Hose

If you notice that the water and the bubbles have stopped, remove the funnel and place a cloth on the outlet's opening. Blow the hose out so that you can remove the clog.

Attach the funnel once again and repeat the process of running the water through the hose and blowing it out.

7. Apply Vinegar

Move the inlet hose above the heater core and near your outlet hose. You may now run the vinegar into your outlet hose to clean out the internal of the heater core.

Click here to see this Heinz cleaning vinegar on Amazon.

You can see if your heater core is filled with vinegar if there is spillage of vinegar on your inlet hose. Stop pouring the vinegar after you notice the spillage. 

Let the vinegar sit for 10 minutes. This method will ensure that the internal of your heater core is thoroughly cleaned.

After 10 minutes, you may remove the funnel from the hose and move the inlet hose below the heater core facing the bucket.

8. Blow Vinegar Out

Place a cloth again on the hose and blow as much vinegar as possible. Attach the final and run the water through again on the house to remove the remaining vinegar and impurities.

9. Apply Coolant

hand of Mechanic check water in car radiator and add water antIfreeze coolant fluid at garage , car maintenance and service and repair concept . selective focus selective focus

Add coolant to the hose to finally flush all the water out. 

Click here to see this Zerex coolant on Amazon.

10. Place the Hoses Back

After applying coolant, you may move the outlet hose back to its original position and with the inlet hose.

Attach the hoses to their bases. For hoses that consist of clips, use pliers to tighten them.

11. Test the Engine

Turn on your engine and run it for awhole to make sure your heater gets hot.

Is It Safe To Clean The Heater Core With Vinegar?

Vinegar has distinct qualities and cleaning mechanisms, making it an efficient and safe way to clean your heater core. It softens the dirt and removes rust with its slight acidity of 5%.

Just do not let it sit for long periods. Also, rinse all the vinegar off after you run it through the hose. Repeating the process of running water through the hose greatly helps.

How Often Should You Clean The Heater Core?

Old car parts. The heater core inside the car. The metal part is made of aluminium for the operation of the stove of the cabin.

One of the main reasons heater cores fail is a lack of maintenance. Driving can be made uncomfortable by a blocked heater core. It is a must to schedule a cleaning of your heater core to avoid issues that may arise with your heater core. 

Your heater core may not produce heat, and the coolant will degrade over time and get corrosive if it is not properly cleaned. It is advisable to clean your heater core every two years.

Factors That Require You To Clean Your Heater Core

Dark car interior - steering wheel, shift lever and dashboard. Car modern inside. - How To Clean A Heater Core With Vinegar

A heating system occasionally experiences technical breakdowns, just like any other system. One component of the heating system is its heater core.

A heater core is a crucial part of a car's heating system that must run continuously and efficiently. On chilly mornings, it will prevent warm air from entering when you need it.

You must take action right away if you are experiencing these problems:

1. Lack of Heat

This symptom is the most prevalent sign of a blocked heater core. Your car may frequently become foggy.  

Heating effectiveness is significantly reduced when coolant cannot flow through a vehicle's heater core.

2. Engine Overheating

Overheating in your engine may happen if your heater core requires cleaning.

The engine won't be able to reach its average operating temperature. It will result in the heater delivering cold or lukewarm air instead of warm air. Furthermore, when your engine overheats, it can emit a cloud of white smoke.

How Much Will Heater Core Flush Cost?

You can flush your heater core yourself. However, if you are hesitant about what to do, you always have the option to call for experts. However, flushing your heater core may cost you less than paying for labor.

The cost of the service for flushing your heater core may depend on your car's model. The average price typically ranges between $79 and $89.

In Closing

The heater core serves many purposes than just keeping passengers warm. Your heater core may inevitably encounter some problems that need cleaning. The idea of flushing your heater core with vinegar is efficient. 

Take immediate action if you notice any issues related to your heater core. You may call your mechanic if you are unsure what to do with your heater core. 

Before you go, you might want to visit these other exciting articles of ours:

How To Flush A Heater Core In A Jeep Cherokee

Car Heater Not Working – What Could Be Wrong? [Key Reasons Explored]

How To Block Off Heater Hoses [Step By Step Guide]?