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Jeep Repair on a ’97 Jeep Wrangler staying warm in the wintertime.

Hi, there. I’m Saul Reisman here at Saul’s Autotek and today we’re in front of this 1997 Jeep Wrangler to talk to you a little bit about staying warm in the wintertime.

If you’re a Denver Jeep Wrangler owner, you already know that the heat in these vehicles is not the most adequate. Several Wrangler owners have actually opted to put RV style heaters in these vehicles in the backseat to keep the kids warm, keep the dog warm or just make sure the vehicle warms up quicker. By the nature of having a hard metal body with very little insulation and either soft doors or no doors and either soft roof or no roof, keeping heat in the vehicle is a battle in a best-case scenario. However, when Chrysler produced these vehicles, the heater core in literally backward.

All Chrysler vehicles produced between 1996 and 2014, the heater core flows from bottom to top. The coolant comes in the bottom, circulates back and forth through the dashboard and comes out the top. What that means is there has to be substantial pressure behind that coolant from the water pump to push that coolant through and circulate it to keep you warm. When you start your car, the coolant stays inside the engine and circulates inside that motor until it gets hot. Once that motor gets hot, the thermostat opens and allows that coolant to circulate through the rest of the vehicle. That’s why oftentimes when you were a kid, you’d hear mom or dad say, “Don’t turn the heat on for the first five minutes. Let the car get hot first.” That’s valid because cool is circulating just in the engine block and you’re not actually going to heat up the cabin of the vehicle, you’re just going to blow cold air around.

The downside is these vehicles need heat that works well. As a result of having a reverse cross flow in those heater cores, it actually creates a coagulatory spot where the coolant, once that flow stops, will build up and solidify inside the system. This will eventually clog in the heater core in the vehicle, which is a substantially labor-intensive repair to get access to in most modern vehicles. In the case of Chrysler vehicles, whether it’s a Jeep, a Dodge, or even a Chrysler sedan, maybe it’s a pickup truck, who knows, they all use a reverse cross flow in their heater core design. As a result, typically every 10 to 15 years they need to be replaced. Also, they can be maintained by doing flushes on them in the spring and in the fall in both directions to keep all that debris in deposits out of that heater court.

So here at Saul’s Autotek, if you’ve got a Chrysler vehicle, we’re going to make those recommendations to you twice a year so that you don’t get a heater core replacement.

If you’re like this Jeep Wrangler that went 20 years without ever having that done, you’re going to get a heater core replacement and we’re going to remove the entire dashboard of the vehicle to get access to it. This is a very time prohibitive and cost-prohibitive repair. So if you’ve got a Wrangler which didn’t have the greatest heat to begin with and you want to keep it in good shape, you should be doing a coolant flush on it in the spring and in the fall to keep that heater court completely clear as possible.

You should also make sure that whoever’s doing that flush is flushing it in both directions when they do such so that debris deposits get out of that core. If you’ve got concerns about the heat in your Jeep or your Chrysler vehicle or your Dodge truck, or it’s just not performing the way it should and you’re getting cold in that passenger compartment, come and see us here at Autotek. We’d be happy to help out, get your vehicle staying warm and keep you safe because the reality is if the vehicle’s not warm and you get stuck in traffic or you get stuck behind some snow or something else that keeps you out on the road, you’re the one getting cold in that car and your safety is at risk.

Help us keep you safe by bringing your vehicle into Saul’s Autotek to keep your cooling system and your heater in good company. Don’t be a Jeep Wrangler like this guy and get a heater core.

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About the Author

Picture of Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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