So if the heater works great when the engine is working and blows cold air when it's not running does that mean that something is wrong with the electric coils are supposed to take over heating?

50

Asked by Nov 11, 2014 at 11:35 PM about the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Base AWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The heaters works great as long as the engine is running, but the moment the engine stops and the electric takes over it changes to cold air - almost like the A/C takes over.  So does that mean the coils, that someone mentioned should take over heating the cab when running electric, are bad or the circuit are broke?

4 Answers

35,385

The engine heats up the inside of the car but only when it's running. There's no electrical coils, know what I mean Vern?

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BoholMark - your answer puzzles me and here is why: Last night I read part of another question about the heater system in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and one of the answers they received spoke about an electric heater system. As a matter of fact here's what they had to say about it - FordNut answered about a week ago - Yes, dandyoun is right. The hybrid uses engine heat, just like any water-cooled car, to heat the cabin. But in the hybrid, there are electric heating elements in the heater core, to help hold heat when engine is not running and car moving. Also a ceramic-shrouded electric heat element in the dash for defrost, but still, it will take a few minutes. These electric heaters draw a lot of power, and operate off the same batteries and generating system that powers the car, and will be heated for only a short time if engine is not running. Regardless, there will never be instant cabin heat - This is why I asked about the heater core system. So if you are telling me there is no electric heater core system then can you help me understand why when I'm driving and the actual gas engine is operating I have heat and all of a sudden there is no heat and cold air was all that was coming out (almost like the A/C was on). I looked and notices the suv was running on electric only. So if I'm no a long trip and the heater system is fluctuating between hot and cold, then that could be a pretty miserable trip. So do you have any idea why it keeps going from hot and cold? Also any idea of how to keep it from going from hot to cold so the temp will be a little more stable? Know what I mean?

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

LOL. "Know what I mean Vern - it works because its from Newhart and your name is Vern! Classic. Anyway, I play an expert on TV, and it sounds like you took offense to the first answer. Here's where you're misunderstanding -- The "coils" offer supplimental heat when the gas engine is "off" as in, the electrical system is propelling the vehicle and the gas is coasting. When that happens, there is no engine heat to blow into the car (that's how the heater works, its just the waste heat off the engine block) so the coils activate to take over the load. They are able to recharge by starting the engine for energy and by taking brake regeneration power. But they would not work when the car is actually "Off". Because there is no gas engine running to recharge battery. Otherwise the heating elements would completely drain your juice in a matter of minutes. Since a regular car does not heat up unless it is on, the designers of the hybrid system probably reasoned that there was no need to fully drain the battery to provide 10 minutes of heat when the engine was off. (In other words, you need to turn on the car, and expect the gas engine to kick in if you are using the heater while idling. If that's not happening, then you have a completely different problem.)

Upon rereading the problem, it sounds like a different problem. There should probably be heat coming in when the car is "on" but the electric is the propellant. Hope you got it fixed. Let us know what it was and how much it cost!

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