What is a Jeep Heater Core?

Jeep CJ 1978-86 Heater Core for 3 Speed Heater Motor

A Jeep heater core is a very important part of your Jeep. You can go just about anywhere with your Jeep, but what is the point of enjoying the ride if you keep freezing? There is no point trying to enjoy your Jeep when the weather is cooler if you find that you can’t stay warm. A Jeep heater core is designed to provide the warmth that you need to enjoy your Jeep any time of the year no matter how cold it is. If you have a Jeep heater core, you can simply turn on the heat and relax, even if it’s below freezing outside.

A Jeep heater core is not operated by electricity or directly on gasoline. The heater core works much like a radiator does in an older home. The engine of the jeep itself is the boiler, the coolant in the engine is the water, and the Jeep heater core then transfers heat out of the coolant and into the air that streams through the vents into the passenger area. This method is wonderful because it doesn’t affect your fuel economy at all. You can run the heater core as much as you want or need without worrying about it eating up your gas. Another advantage is that, since the heater core works like a small radiator, if your engine is overheating you can turn on the heater and it will help to cool the engine.

There is a downside to a Jeep heater core. Just like a regular radiator, the heater core can get clogs and leaks. The Jeep heater core can actually make a mess in your passenger compartment because it is located inside, not under the hood. If it leaks, it goes all over your carpet. If the heater core is clogged, hot coolant can sometimes spray all over your seats or you might just not get any heat. Be aware of these potential issues so that you can fix these problems or simply buy a new Jeep heater core. Either way, you’ll be able to stay warm and comfortable no matter what your plans are.

Written by Andrew

"You're telling me it's got four wheels, two seats and goes faster than the speed limit? Good, I'm driving."


  1. I never thought much about how it all worked until mine went out. I’m here to tell you that it got pretty damned cold inside that Jeep. Heat is like electricity, you don’t really think about it until it’s taken away. By then, it’s too late. A throrough inspection would have caught the problem and I could have been spared a very uncomfortable ride back into town. I dressed as if the heat would be there.


  2. Don’t beat yourself up too bad Renny. Most other drivers would not know what they look like or what they are for. Thing is, you learned the hard way, and it’s a lesson you won’t soon forget.


  3. I never knew exactly how a heater core worked, thanks for the lesson. I was grounded for a week while the garage ordered one for me and got it instlled. You don’t know what you got, until it’s gone. Didn’t take long for me to figure out that if I wanted to continue playing in the snow, I needed to have it replaced. The bones aren’t as young as they used to be and they need the warmth to enjoy the outdoors.


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