Staying Warm for the Long Run

How Automotive Heating Systems Work

We catch up with the team at NISSENS to discuss how vehicle heating systems work and to get some practical advice on preventing issues.

Automotive heating systems serve as more than a comfort function in modern vehicles. A working heating system improves driver safety by efficiently demisting vehicle windscreens and windows on cold days, and in cases of high humidity.

Nissens constantly develops its heater range to offer a competitive range to match aftermarket demands. With more than 260 heater models, Nissens provides heating needs for an extensive variety of popular European and Asian vehicles.

In the Heart of it All

Located behind the dashboard in the cabin of the car, the heater is an integral part of the automotive Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) module as it contributes significantly to the climate system to ensure the production of warm air.

This simple and straightforward system involves a heater that resembles a small radiator, connected to the cooling system by a pair of rubber hoses. One hose brings hot coolant from the water pump to the heater core, and the other hose returns the coolant to the top of the engine.

Usually, a heater control valve in one of the hoses blocks the flow of coolant into the heater core where the maximum air-conditioning is called for. The complex electronic systems found in cars today control the interior climate, using both air conditioning and heating.

Nissens Thermal Heating System

Minimising Long Term Labour Costs

Heaters are generally straightforward to install. However, ensuring that it is mounted properly onto the vehicle requires proper expertise. Installers generally find the biggest challenges are dismantling the dashboard and properly reassembling it after heater installation. As a result, replacing heaters can be expensive and labour intensive.

Good quality heaters are constructed and tested to ensure a long and unproblematic service lifespan. Vehicle owners who opt for low quality heaters in the name of price, may find an increase of total service costs as lower-quality heaters can break down and require new replacements sooner.

Designed and manufactured to match OE specifications, and tested in full accordance with OE requirements, Nissens heaters are thoroughly finished in every detail. They fit smoothly into the mounting cassette within the dashboard/HVAC module to ensure a smooth and quick installation. If required, selected heater models are also equipped with additional connections and foam rubber.

Quality Tested by Nissens

Nissens heaters are examined and tested by means of vibration, corrosion, pressure impulse, thermal expansion and bursting to eliminate the risk of leakage, poor heating performance and quality issues such as bad odours, oil residues, etc.

Keeping Warm and Dodging Problems

Hot coolant transfers heat through the heater tubes and fins. This warms up the intake air blown onto its surface from the interior blower, and eventually into the cabin. Thus, it is important to take measures to help maintain clean heater tubes for optimal performance.

Most failures in the heating system are caused by a broken, leaking heater. This occurs because the heater is exposed to frequently fluctuating temperatures and pressures from the cooling system. As heating systems are constructed from different metals (i.e. copper, brass or aluminium), they are susceptible to corrosion if low-quality coolant or water is used in the system.

To ensure that the coolant flows efficiently through heater tubes and fins, installers should observe the following measures:

Use proper coolants that are suited for the system

Scale that precipitates from water applied instead of a proper coolant may block the heater core, limiting the coolant flow. Poor quality coolant or wrong coolant mixtures can cause residues that accumulate in the heater tubes and impede operation.

Check the condition of the thermostat valve

A worn-out or broken thermostat valve may cause a restricted coolant flow.

Check for heater leaks

As heaters are located in a damp environment, the heater is often exposed to corrosion that may cause leakages. The lack of coolant will result in improper heater operation.


Why Nissens?

Nissen’s heating systems are specifically developed for the aftermarket whilst maintaining OE quality standards. As a market-leading manufacturer of essential climate system components, Nissens offers a comprehensive product portfolio. Nissens utilises their HVAC expertise to manufacture and reengineer for critical component improvements.

With their ‘First to Market’ initiative, Nissen strives to ensure that the aftermarket has access to parts developed specifically for them, while maintaining the same high quality and market trends as found in OE products. Nissens also has a growing range of ‘First Fit’ products to provide installers with everything they need in a box to fit a part correctly.

Fully catalogued on the F:Drive and MAM Autocat, Nissens heaters are available from FPS via same/next-day delivery. For more information, please speak with your local FPS representative.



Check out other sections of the Vital News blog.