Dodge nitro heat blowing cold air


Asked by toyea Dec 28, 2012 at 07:18 PM about the 2009 Dodge Nitro

Question type: General

23 Answers


if you are blowing cold air check the level of coolant, if full, check your thermostat, if that's fine then comes the most expensive the heater core. After that I'm out of thoughts.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

It's more complicated than that. The 1st two possibilities you mention would likely have more symptoms ie: temp gauge reading too hot/cold. The heater core always fogs interior windows and spews a sweet moist taste in the cabin when that goes bad unless car manufacturers have somehow relocated the heater core to the engine side of the firewall which might make those symptoms change. I think it's more likely you would have a bad "blend door" actuator or maybe the electronic switch on the dash is malfunctioning. The switch is the cheapest fix, if it's the blend door, it's very time consuming for a mechanic to disassemble the dash enough to access the actuator. You can expect to pay a shop $900 in labor to do that repair. The part is relatively cheap.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

After reading some more on forums and looking at my daughters '08 Nitro, I think there may be another possibility. The heater core can plug up. I removed the blend door motor from my daughters Nitro and manually moved the door. No heat yet, I plan to flush the heater core next. I'm reading that there can be some casting sand that may settle in there and perhaps corrosion from using the wrong anti-freeze or mixing different types (perhaps before we purchased the car). There's also talk of air getting stuck in the core, so it may be necessary to have a shop use a vacuum tool to flush the system properly.

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.

By the way, that $900 labor estimate was WAY off. Apparently, the shop that told her that never even looked at the car. You have to be REAL careful where you take your car these days. I had the blend door actuator off in about 2 minutes!

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.


3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Wutcha Gonnado Boutit

If its overheating probably a thermostat stuck closed. If temp is normal and you have no heat then you most likely have casting sand stopping the heater core up. You can fix it for nothing too by the way unlike what others are telling. All you need is a 4 foot piece of garden hose and some hot tap water and an air tank with a rubber tip nozzle. I used a 10 gallon portable air tank with a blow nozzle from Wal Mart. Remove the hoses from the heater core at the firewall and attach garden hose on each heater core pipe. GENTLY blow out the antifreeze from the heater core into an empty milk jug, this way you can see the sand in the bottom of your jug. Pour hot water in the core till its full and blow again Gently. You dont need to kill it. Switch hoses every other time so you back and forward flush it. This will help to dislodge sand and debri from the core. Repeat until you get no more sand. Fill up the core with antifreeze before you fit the hoses back on it and your done. Take old antifreeze to recycler. Take your time unhooking the hoses or you can damage the core. Just be easy and go slow. Chrysler wanted 1200 bucks to fix my daughters nitro. I did it for free and an hour and a half of my time. Jeep and Nitro are horrible with the sand problem but its an easy fix and you dont need a heater core unless it is leaking. Be gentle with the air and go lightly until you get the feel for it. Its just sand so no need to blow too hard or you can damage the core. Lastly, spend the 1200 bucks on the wife and kids and have a great day.

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.
Chad Dismore

Question I have a 2011 dodge nitro heat, and there's no heat at the feet. Actuator is fine, need to know what to think next, don't know how to dismantle dash to look at floor vent system any ideas?

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Wutcha Gonnado Boutit

How long has it been this way? Did the problem come on all at once? Open it manually and if no heat then probably the heater core stopped up.

Nathaniel Jones

I have a 07 nitro that is blowing cold air with the heat on my coolant levels are good my water pump is good the actuators are working fine and both my heater hoses closest to the fire wall are both hot one a lil hotter than the other but both hot so my heat control valve should be fine my last option is my heater core so now my only problem is locating it I need some help with that I'm not at all a know it all DIY mechanic plz help

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

Signs still point to plugged heater core (looks like an epidemic at this point). Update on my daughters Nitro: The radiator began leaking, so I bought a new one and while I was at it, replaced the thermostat and fan belt. After assembly, I installed a flush valve in the heater hose line, and used a Prestone super-flush. Still no heat after all this. A short time later, the symptom of sweet taste and fog inside the cabin arrived as predicted in my previous post. I bypassed the heater core for a quick-fix just to keep it on the road. I've been told the core location is buried deep inside the dash somewhere, and that is the expensive part to get replaced at a shop.

Wutcha Gonnado Boutit

Yes, you have to completely dismantle the dash to get to the heater core. Its an 8 hour job for an experienced mechanic, so if your core is leaking your luck is bad and it's the worst case scenario.

Wutcha Gonnado Boutit

You can NOT go by how hot the heater hoses feel at the firewall. The heater core can be full of sand and both hoses can feel hot. I have seen this before so beware. See my post on how to flush the core with water and compressed air.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Courtney Tomlinson

OK I have a question I have a 2011 Dodge nitro and the air on full blast feels like it is on the lowest setting could the be the actuator an if so is there more then one of them? Please help thanks in advance

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Francisco de Lira

idk but my dodge nitro 2007 is leaking water in the drivers side anyone knows the solution to fix it ?


I saw a post from a year ago from cars4dummies. my 07 nitro is doing exactly that. Temp gauge is going from normal to hot unless I'm on the highway the windshield fogging up the smell in the cab. My friend said some thing about air bubbles in the coolant and put water in it while it was running. Bubbles started splashing out and that worked for about half an Jr before it started overheating again. Didn't help the heater though. It still shoots out cold air. Any idea what it can be?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Sorry WayneJay, the fogging and smell is a dead-ringer for a ruptured heater core. Time to decide how important the vehicle is to you. It's gonna be very expensive to have a shop take to dash apart. There's a few blog posts out there where shade-tree mechanics claim it's not as bad as it looks to do the repair. I see the pics and am horrified to think which screw or bolt I would forget to put back in and something would either rattle infinitely or worse yet, something else would not function. I guess as long as you have the time and patience (which I don't), it might be worth undertaking the project to save a few hundred bucks. Here's some pics of common Dodge core replacement projects. I couldn't find any Nitro pics, but you get the idea.


Oh, by the way, here's what I ended up doing with my daughters car. I did an old fashioned by-pass with the heater hoses. You just simply locate the two hoses coming from the engine and pull one end off, then pull one end off where they go through the fire-wall then loop them back to themselves. The ones on the engine circulate the coolant back to the engine. The ones on the fire-wall don't even need to be looped, but I usually do it to keep all the parts handy in case I ever get ambitious enough to actually do the project right. As far as this being a "fix"... um, well let's just say it gets quite nippy come January in New York. I usually swap vehicles with my daughter on the cccold days so she can travel in comfort. (sample picture - not a Dodge motor)

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Well thanks for the heads up. Just how expensive do you think that might be? I know nothing about vehicles other than how to change a tire, oil, and starter. Is that something I may be able to do myself as inexperienced as I ? Of course with the patience and remembering what bolts and screws go where they go

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

As inexperienced as i am*


I think that's about the hardest part. I wouldn't think there would be any major mechanical expertise needed beyond using a screwdriver and some pliers. People say it's around $900 to have a pro take the dash off and do the job. Most of that is their hourly rate due to the time consuming aspect of the job. I did see one blog post where a person got a military discount but still paid over $500


Guy with Daughter or anyone else. So I've replaced the thermostat, the radiator, flushed the hoses of the heater core still no hot air unless I rub the engine and I get little heat. Asoon ass I stop rubbing engine cold air again. So my question is if I replace the heater core all together will I get heat again. I'm in Canada and it's getting cold.thanks.


Sounds like you've covered all the bases. Although I'm not familiar with the term "rubbing the engine", if it's anything like a rev, then I think the core replace will correct the issue.


Update: My nephew needed some cash and offered to do the core replacement in his driveway for $200. I was skeptical, but my daughter dropped it off and crossed her fingers. A few days later she's got her Nitro back and the heat works. The blend door doesn't operate, but at least the heat is blowing on the windshield and the floor so I guess it could be worse. I'll have a look at it to see if I can get the blend door working at some point, but at least it's not forming icicles on the inside anymore. Long story short, "you get what you pay for".

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