What happened to the heater in my Mazda?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader trying to figure out why his vehicle's heater has stopped working.

The Mazda logo.
The Mazda logo. –Gene J. Puskar / AP

Q. I have a question regarding my 2002 Mazda MPV. The car runs beautifully, but the heat suddenly stopped working this weekend. What is your diagnosis?

A. I would start with a check of the basics. Is the coolant level correct? If not, add coolant and check for leaks in the cooling system. The next step is to see if the vehicle is coming up to operating temperature? If it is not, then the problem could be a faulty engine thermostat. Other items could be a stuck air blend-door, faulty heater control, or clogged heater core. A good repair shop should be able to quickly give you an idea of what is wrong.

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John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.