By January 16, 2008 2 Comments Read More →

1989 Toyota Cressida Heater Not Hot

Reader Question

Hi Austin,

I am looking at a faily good shape 1989 Toyota Cresida with 230000 on it.

Starts well

Drives well

The only problem is there is no heat.

What could the possible problems be?

The goofy control panel?

Heater core? Did not see any leaks.

How could I tell as it is a bit of work to get it registered to take it a mechanic. Is there any easy way to do this.

Any help would be appreciated.



Regina, SK, Canada


Hello up there David,


Thanks for your email. I love the Cressida, great long term mechanical track record….but you are just about at the end of its lifespan….do you really want to buy this old of a vehicle with that many miles on it?? Or is that Kilometers?

At any rate, I am sure you could spend your money more wisely…..I just don’t know if this is really a good investment or not. MANY things start to break down at this mileage and time frame….transmissions, water pumps, alternators, radiators, engines, air compressors, wiring, computers etc etc. etc. etc. This vehicle could nickel and dime you to death over the next few months.

OK, off my soap box!

First check to see if there is enough coolant inside the radiator itself to make the heater hot. If the radiator is low, you probably have a coolant leak somewhere and should get a cooling system pressure test to find the leak.

If the coolant is full, feel the upper and lower radiator hoses and the two heater hoses under the hood on the passenger side. If the radiator hoses are not hot after the engine has reached operating temperature then I would replace the thermostat and see what happens.

If the radiator hoses are hot, and one heater hose is hot….you might have a stopped up heater core which could be unplugged by removing the heater hoses and “back flushing” the heater core with a garden hose to remove the restriction.

If both heater hoses are hot to the touch you probably have a control problem in the dash or the control panels.

Here is a used car manual you might want to print out and fill out as much as you can, then get your mechanic to look the vehicle over before you buy it. Used Car Check list

Sorry to rain on your parade, keep me posted as to what you find out.


Austin Davis

Posted in: Toyota

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  • Abdallah

    Most vehicles have 4 radiator/heating hoses. The two obvious big ones go to the radiator. The smaller pair go to the heater core. The core it not necessary for the operation of the vehicle, it’s only required for heating the cabin of the car.

    Any major auto parts store should be able to sell you a bypass connector. It allows you to directly connect the two smaller hoses that go to the heater core and thus avoid leaks.

    Depending on where the hoses connect to the core it could be a 15 minute fix or a couple hour fix.As long as you bypass the heater core it shouldn’t negatively impact your cooling system. I will caveat this with the statement that if your car has enough mileage for this to be a problem, there’s always the chance of something going wrong.

  • Anonymous

    It depends on how bad the leak is. Your engine will overheat and be ruined if you run it without coolant. You can add coolant along the way but run the risk of burning/scalding yourself if you don’t know what you are doing. You can add coolant/water mix to the overflow tank and it usually will be sucked back into the radiator. This does not always work.

    You can bypass the heater core altogether if you are handy by removing the two hoses and connecting them together with the correct size pipe. You can also cut the hoses and install valves from your auto parts store that will cut off the water flow. They even make special vise grips to pinch the hose to stop the flow. I would take the vehicle in and have a mechanic temporarily bypass the heater core for you if you can’t afford the new one.