The Mercedes Benz Sprinter is everything the brand represents; it is large, comfortable and sophisticated. Essentially, the Sprinter van is a beast when it comes to cargo and delivery. However, if you own an MB Sprinter or you are planning to buy one, especially the 2010 model year and later models, you should be aware that the Sprinter heater control valve in the heating system of your car is likely to malfunction sooner than later.
The heating system of your car has the sole responsibility of keeping the interior compartment of your vehicle warm. There are a number of features which make up the heating system one of which is the heater control valve. The heater control valve was designed to regulate the amount of heat in the cabin when the heating system is on.
The valve achieves this purpose by controlling amount of coolant flowing from the engine compartment into the heater core. When the valve closes, the vents remain cool as the coolant cannot get to the heater core. Once the valve opens, the air in the vents warms up. Thus, if your heater valve isn’t functioning properly, then you are in for a cold drive.
When the heater is on, the temperature of the air in the cabin is regulated by the heater control valve. Thus, if the control valve of the heating system fails, the air in the cabin will most likely not be warm even with the heater on. Because the heater control valve regulates the flow of hot engine coolant into the heater, if the coolant is leaking from somewhere, your heating system will definitely be affected. A coolant leak could result in insufficient coolant to cool the engine and could eventually cause the engine to overheat. If you notice a coolant leak or any one of the signs above, then your heating system is malfunctioning.
A malfunctioning heater control valve could be as a result of a coolant leak in the system. If the coolant is leaking, the valve may not be able to fully regulate the temperature of the air in the cabin. Wear and tear is also a possible cause of a malfunctioning valve. A worn out heater control valve is likely to be less responsive and efficient compared a brand new one. If you live in a region where temperatures often drop drastically like during winter, a bad heater control valve could pose more than just a slight inconvenience compared for you.
A bad heater control valve may not affect drivability although the ride could be cold and uncomfortable. However, if you notice a coolant leak, then overheating is only imminent and in that condition, you should definitely avoid driving.
To diagnose a malfunctioning heater control valve, we simply inspect the heating system watching out for the movement of the valve when the temperature selector is adjusted. In some cases, there may be movement in the valve without a corresponding change in temperature and in other cases, the valve may be completely unresponsive. We will also inspect the system for any signs of a leak to determine if the malfunction is as a result of a coolant leak.
Once a diagnosis has been made, we will proceed with repairs. It is imperative to know that heater control valves cannot be repaired – a faulty valve must be removed and replaced. Once the new valve is installed, we also flush the system and refill the coolant. This is particularly necessary especially if the old valve was corroded with rust to prevent contamination of the coolant.
The manufacturers of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter recommend changing the heater valve at least once every 100,000 miles. The heater control valve is part of a closed heating system so it is unlikely that your mechanic will be inspecting it during routine maintenance and inspections. Nevertheless, you can schedule an inspection yourself to ensure that the system is running as it should.
European Service Center has been servicing European cars for over 35 years. If you are having issues with your heater control valve, schedule an appointment here or contact us here. Also, check out our new location in Houston, TX, and give us a visit. We look forward to serving your needs.