Dodge nitro heat blowing cold air

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

Question type: General

46 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.

10 people found this 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.

16 people found this 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.

43 people found this 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!

41 people found this helpful.


9 people found this helpful.

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.

35 people found this helpful.

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?

31 people found this helpful.

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.

3 people found this helpful.

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

36 people found this 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.

3 people found this helpful.

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.

3 people found this helpful.

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.

27 people found this helpful.

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

21 people found this helpful.

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

4 people found this helpful.

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?

3 people found this 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.

2 people found this helpful.

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)

4 people found this 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 people found this 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

1 people found this helpful.

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.

2 people found this helpful.

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.

1 people found this helpful.

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".

2 people found this helpful.

CapnJack, 2010 Nitro, flushed the heater core and got minimal rust flakes and small amount of help. Removed the mix door actuator (2 screws) repositioned / reseated gears in box with small punch, actuated several times b4 reinstall. GOT LUCKY this time... mixer working like a champ!!!

4 people found this helpful.

Hey guys. I see that tge blend door actuator is on the driver's side. How do I get to it? How do I remove the plastic panel by my feet?

10 people found this helpful.

So this has been really helpful. Normally I don't bother with working on my cars and I just take them to the dealer. This time however is a different case for my 08 Nitro. I needed an oil change anyhow and I was going to need to leave it somewhere so I decided to take it to the dealer and have the heat checked. I get a call a few hours later and they said that the heater core needed replaced for $1020. I told him it is right after Christmas, I live in AZ and the heater core wasn't leaking so I would wait to repair it. I brought it home, found this forum and decided to try myself. I drained the radiator (probably didn't need to do that), pulled the hoses off the heater core where it goes through the firewall and blew through it (water and air). Sure enough sand came out and then it was flowing fine. I filled the heater core before reconnecting the hoses and then refilled the radiator. It took some time to get the air out but once that was done the heat works fine. Unless your heater core is leaking you can do this in about 45 minutes (or less if you don't drain the radiator). Best of all it didn't cost anything! The service manager at Tempe Dodge is going to get a visit from me tomorrow.

7 people found this helpful.

I have a 2008 Dodge Nitro. I replaced water pump and hose recently and now there is water leaking close to the drivers side. I cant find a schematic online to see what it could be. Im sure its just water and not condensation. Any ideas?

3 people found this helpful.

2010 dodge nitro,, heat works if i put on real low but I put it on blast it instantly gets cold, also now when I turn it on even if for the a/c it starts to click for about 10 seconds then stops... Any suggestions.

6 people found this helpful.

Just bought a 2011 Nitro Heat 90,000 miles - with no heat. Returned it the next day, Mazda dealer was determined to fix. After 'several' cooling system flushes and new thermostat reported that it's working. Before leaving the parking lot I checked the heat - seemed ok, not great. Switched to defrost and clearly no heat driver's side; some heat pass side. Returned to Mazda garage, we both scratched our heads and talked about the cited heater core flush idea mentioned here. Ultimately they checked with a Dodge dealer and learned Dodge has a special 'chemical' system flush procedure. Mazda garage couldn't do it. Dodge had it for a day and did their special flush 3-4 times! Got it back and now it is hot and balanced left to right. Obviously needed to get the scale, sand, whatever out of there.

2 people found this helpful.

I have a 2010 Nitro with the 3.7 engine. Wife complained that there was no heat. Thermostat was working fine. Coolant was full. I flushed the heater core by disconnecting the two heater core hoses. I bought two 3 foot pieces of 5/8 hose, two clamps and a Prestone anti-freeze flush kit. I attached the two 3 foot sections of hose to the heater core. I used the Prestone hose splice and attached it to one end of the heater hose. Then I attached my garden hose and blocked off the other end of the splice. I put the open hose into a 5 gal bucket and turned the garden hose on. I ran about 4 gallons of water through and a lot of debris came out. Then I switched hoses and ran water through the other way. More debris came out. I did this back and forth until the water was clear. Reinstalled the heater hoses and the car heats great now. Cost? $25.

1 people found this helpful.

Great! Sounds like you nipped it in the butt. I think the key is to flush it out as soon as the problem starts. If you put it off or buy the Nitro with the condition pre-existing, you'll be needing a bigger toolbox and more band-aids.

1 people found this helpful.

I used a flush and fill kit but only ran the flush through the intake into the engine. A lot more heat is present but the real test will be driving the Nitro SXT in cold weather. All of the doors work properly to direct the heat. Temp gauge is half and half. The heat output is about half cold and half hot. Most likely the door actuator needs cleans out.

I have driven it without much heat through this years cold weather. If people ask why you are covered up with comforters just tell em its a Dodge Thing, You Wouldn't Understand. Don't try using those plug in vehicle heaters either. I blew numerous fuses with a plug in one that I bought from a local auto mart.

I have a 2007 Dodge Nitro and the thermostat was replaced we flush the heater core and it came out clean nothing wrong both hoses are hot to the firewall and manually took off the blend door and tried moving it and nothing is working to get hot heat. When the fan is on low I can feel the heat trying to come through but the cold air dominates it and once I put the fan on high it’s only cold air

When we took off the blend door and tried tinkering around with it my boyfriend got it to hot heat for like three seconds and then it went back called instantly I don’t know what he touched or what it could be. But I’m assuming the blend door is fine considering I can hear it switching from hot to cold but the problem is it’s not hot


@DwightHuth, you might still be able to save your heater core with a flush directed only at the core. Don't put it off or you'll be doomed to do a core transplant. @Vee333, the symptoms you describe seem to point at the plugged core. Perhaps the flush you performed was not enough. Try again using the exact method DCMADave used: 1.Flush the heater core by disconnecting the two heater hoses at the firewall. 2.Buy two 3 foot pieces of 5/8 hose, two clamps and a Prestone anti-freeze flush kit. 3.Attach the two 3 foot sections of hose to the tubes protruding from the firewall that lead to the heater core. 4.Use the Prestone hose splice and attach it to one end of the heater hose. 5.Attach a garden hose and block off the other end of the splice. 6.Place the open hose into a 5 gal bucket and turn the garden hose on. 7.Run approx. 4 gallons of water through and watch for debris coming out. 8.Switch hoses and run water through the other way. More debris should come out. Do this back and forth until the water was clear. 9.Reinstall the heater hoses and top off the system with a proper mix of coolant. Source:DCMADave

1 people found this helpful.

@Dwighthuth I just don’t understand because when i first flushed it it came out cleeeeeaan. But i guess it wont hurt to flush it again? I just don’t want to waste $$$. Hmm. I wish I could flush it myself but i dont trust myself enough lol. Also curious on why fan speed diminishes on high... so many questions


I thought you had performed the flush yourself the 1st time. Perhaps the shop that did it, only did a general flush. If the heater core is plugged, that would only clean the radiator and cooling ports within the engine. I don't think the heater hoses to the firewall being hot would indicate good flow with any certainty. If you do the flush with a garden hose attached directly to the core lines, as described above, there really isn't any additional cost to do it again. Not sure about the fan speed issue, sorry.

Or u can just switch the hoses around save all the work it doesn't matter which way the water runs through the heater core its just sand from the casting in the heater core


True...there was some sand in there when I flushed mine. However, the radiator passages are larger than that of the heater core. So...any debris from the engine block passes easily through the radiator and gets lodged in the heater core. When I flushed mine I found chunks of metal and rusty material along with some sand. Once flushed out the heater in our Nitro is back to normal.

Yes forsure that is possible but most common is the sand casting the proplem is in some of the mini vans and i think the journeys too wht happen is all the sand did not come out when they where cast remember the heater core hose does not come off the rad they come off the engine but all siad its not a hard fix very simple job and flushing heater core is always the thing to do worth it for the heat in this cold


Correct...the heater hoses come off of the block...the coolant passes through the block into the radiator back into the block and then through the heater core. The openings in the heater core are smaller than those in the radiator making the core a stop gap for anything too large to pass through. I filtered everything out of the heater core when I flushed it out. I had almost a quarter of a cup of debris. 80% of the debris were large rust particles with 20% sand mixed in. Once again...heater now works great.

Dodge should def do some kind of recall or make good on this heater issue. My daughter has a 2011 Dodge Nitro. Had 70,000 m on it when she got it. 3 months later had to replace the water pump and flush the radiator. Now the heater does not blow cold air....the heater core has been replaced for 1100.00, the thermostat has been replaced 3 times, it has been flushed several more it keeps saying it is over heating when it is idle or at a normal speed going down the road. If you press the gas and the RPMs go up the heat starts getting leaks anywhere. We are at our wits end...ready to burn it. My brother is going to change the temp sensing unit and try the actuator and see what happens. Also, the 'lightning bolt" light came on last night too....something about an issue with the electronic throttle control...idk if that is related to the heat problem or not. will be finding out I guess...

Do u have a head gasket leak that would cuase the same symptoms remember heater core blows heat not cold air


Head gasket leak would have other symptoms like white exhaust, milky oil, engine misfiring, etc. Most recalls are issued because of potential life threatening problems. At best, you'd be lucky to hope for a TSB (technical service bulletin) which only informs dealerships of an optional fix. The electronic throttle control (ETC) is not related to the heat problem, but could be cause for concern if the light doesn't go out. I seem to recall that condition happening once on our Nitro, but it luckily went away on its own.

Actually (knock on wood) the temperature sensing unit that we replaced has done the trick so far, granted its only been a little over a week but the heat and air is working fine and not over heating. Thank ya'll for the suggestions. Will post if it goes back to the same problem....please pray that it doesn't!

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