Kia... heat, no heat

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  #1  
Old 02-18-16, 10:11 AM
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Kia... heat, no heat

While younger daughter has been out of the country for the week I took her car to the tire shop to get a slow leak repaired. While driving I used the the heater and all worked well until I come to a stop like a red light. Then all of a sudden the blower shoots out cold air! Start to drive and hot air comes out. Of course she has made no mention of this phenomenon, so I have no idea how long this has been going on. In fact I would not be surprised if she has no idea something is wrong.

This is a 2006 KIA Spectra hatch back with about 80,000 miles. Any ideas what could be wrong and is it an easy fix?
 
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Old 02-18-16, 10:27 AM
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That sure sounds like you're low on antifreeze.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 10:48 AM
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Thanks Pete. Never crossed my mind. The temp indicator hasn't gone into the red yet but I did check the resivoir after reading your reply and sure enough it's near empty. Now all I got to do if find the compatible type. I have some Havoline DEX-COOL that meets GM 6277M, ASTM D-3306, Ford ESE-M97B44-D and Chrysler MS 9769. I would assume it would OK to use to top off the reservoir.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 12:06 PM
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I topped off the coolant and took a test drive until the engine came up to operating temp. It seemed to help but did not solve the problem. Just by coincidence daughter called from Costa Rica as I was working on her car. I asked her about the heat problem. She thought it was normal!

Honestly, several degrees, highest honors at school, teaches Latin, travel all over the place, does archaeological digs both in US and Mid-East but figures cold air from heat vent in winter is normal!
 
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Old 02-18-16, 12:22 PM
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Maybe there's some air trapped in the system since it was low for a while. Cap off, heat on full, try squeezing the top hose some with the engine running(watch out for spinning blades, belts, pulleys, hot hose, etc!). Her owners manual should tell you the correct spec coolant to use. Some say its critical to use correct fluid, there are several different kinds out there these days.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 12:54 PM
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Good point. I did think of that. Unless it improves shortly that will be my next step.
Thanks for the input.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:01 PM
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Use the CORRECT coolant or you could easily have big problems.

When the car is cold is the radiator full? Does the reservoir have fluid in it?
When was the cooling system last serviced?
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:08 PM
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Radiator is full when cold. Added coolant to resivoir and it does meet ASTM spec for model car. Serviced? I doubt she knows what the word service means! The A/C has swishing sound every time the car accelerates or you turn. It's like a sound system. I feel like I'm going get sea sick when driving it. She claims KIA took care of it. I keep telling her to take it back and keep badgering them till it's fixed.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:09 PM
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When was the cooling system last serviced?
Serviced....... I didn't know it needed to be serviced.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:28 PM
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Anti-freeze doesn’t last forever.

The manual will give a time/mileage duration then the old coolant is to be drained & refilled.

If the coolant is left in too long the additives deplete and rust/corrosion begins to happen.

I've seen water pump impellers corroded to the point where the water pump efficiency drops off and causes a fault like "poor heat when idling" (does that sound familiar ?)
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:32 PM
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Sure does and I suspect you're spot on. Thanks.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:39 PM
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Other possible reasons I can think of are clogged heater core and failing water pump.
Failed water pump rarely cause this issue, but possible. If it cannot pump enough water, there won't be good flow to heater core.

Clogged heater core can also restrict water flow and only have enough flow when water pump is running at high RPM.

Both of this issue can be result of not changing coolant regularly.

Many people never or rarely change coolant and never have problem. But, when problem occurs, it can be expensive to repair.
I'm one of those lucky people. LOL.

It is just too much of a hassle to change coolant at home because it is hard to collect every bit of coolant. Yet, I'm too cheap to pay somebody to do it for me.
Now, I live in a condo and it is even harder. Running with 7 year old coolant.
Planning to changing this spring when I do 2nd timing belt.

As for the type of coolant, as long as you completely flush your cooling system (little bit left is fine, but flush at least twice), you can replace with different type.
I have Toyota that had pink coolant. When I replaced coolant 7 years ago, I flushed system and put dex-cool. It has been working fine without any issue.
Never mix coolant with high level of silicate with dex-cool. It can form fiber like contaminant.

For just topping off, prestone green coolant made for all makes, all models will be fine. It is different from those old dark green coolant, which have high level of silicate.

I think Zerex asian is probably the best coolant for asian vehicles, but may be hard to find. It is basically same coolant as Toyota super long life (pink) coolant.
They also have blue coolant, which is same formula with different dye. It is even harder to find.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:56 PM
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The naughty Zerex Asian coolant is available near my house at NAPA if you have one of those? Reasonably priced also. My sister has a '09 Corolla and Toyo calls for first change of the super long life pink factory fill at 10 yrs/100,000 mi.

Not sure what Kia uses. Owners manual should spell it out. Me, I would go with exactly what the mfr recommends and used as factory fill.

For instance my Ford F150 has the gold coolant. I got the Zerex(again at NAPA) that had the specific Ford spec number on it. G-05.

Another thing, use distilled water if you buy the concentrate and mix it 50/50!
 

Last edited by gastorms1; 02-18-16 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 02-18-16, 04:16 PM
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It may not be of a consequence here, but with my Grand Jeep Cherokee V8, you must "burp" the engine so the coolant is in all parts of it. It creates an air embolism between the engine and the thermostat that must be purged by removing a plug and allowing the coolant to exit that hole to completely fill it. Otherwise, although it won't show overheating, it won't put out proper heat.
 
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Old 02-20-16, 08:10 AM
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You only have to "burp" it if it had gotten low on coolant and sucked air.

If there are no leaks and you keep the reservoir topped up it will not get air into the system.

There is more to this story yet to come to light ..............
 
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Old 02-20-16, 04:38 PM
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I don't think so. I'm too old to bother with this type of thing nowadays. She needs to bring it in to the shop or get a new car.
 
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