Automotive

Slow Cabin Heating in my 2012 Camry

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 15th, 2021 6:55 pm
[OP]
Deal Guru
Dec 23, 2003
14903 posts
3294 upvotes
Toronto

Slow Cabin Heating in my 2012 Camry

I have a 2012 Camry LE with 183000 KM and noticed that it seems to take 15 to 20 min before the heat from the vents is nice and hot. I have had the coolant completely replaced last year as well as the thermostat changed at the time. The level of coolant is also at the full line in the overflow tank.

As a test, I put this additive in the coolant overflow tank and not the radiator as the vehicle was warm and didn't want to get sprayed when I open the radiator cap: https://www.hyperlube.com/ca/product/qu ... directions. I just put this in yesterday and am not sure if it made a difference or not. Time will tell.

I had read somewhere that some people suggest to reverse flush the heater core and when I asked my mechanic that they didn't want to do it. Their reason is that the water will mess up the coolant mixture and the Toyota coolant is already at 55/45 mix

Just to be clear, when the heat from the vents is hot, the car gets very warm. When I put my fingers in the air vents, I can't keep them there for long as the heat feels like it is burning them.

As an aside, is it normal to have the air pressure lower when it is on heat vs. cool. For example, if I keep the fan speed to the middle and set the temp to the left (cold) I can feel a blast of air. If I turn the dial to the right (all the way to hot) the flow of air feels diminished. Both the cabin filter and air filter are new.

What would you suggest?

Thanks
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12 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36047 posts
10146 upvotes
Ottawa
Cabin air filter clogged up?
A coolant system flush can do no harm.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 14, 2010
1348 posts
801 upvotes
Barrie ON
hightech wrote: I have a 2012 Camry LE
As an aside, is it normal to have the air pressure lower when it is on heat vs. cool. For example, if I keep the fan speed to the middle and set the temp to the left (cold) I can feel a blast of air. If I turn the dial to the right (all the way to hot) the flow of air feels diminished. Both the cabin filter and air filter are new.

If this is an automatic system, warm air is automatically directed to the floor , so that it will rise by convection and heat the whole cabin. No air is normally directed to the face vents, although a small amount is usually sent to the windshield defrost vents.

On the other hand, cooled air is normally sent 100% from the face vents to give maximum comfort to the passengers. Gravity will cause this cool air to fall to the floor level.

To test this, manually select the face vents (override the auto settings), and then try changing from heat to cooling.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Dec 23, 2003
14903 posts
3294 upvotes
Toronto
Rick007 wrote: If this is an automatic system, warm air is automatically directed to the floor , so that it will rise by convection and heat the whole cabin. No air is normally directed to the face vents, although a small amount is usually sent to the windshield defrost vents.

On the other hand, cooled air is normally sent 100% from the face vents to give maximum comfort to the passengers. Gravity will cause this cool air to fall to the floor level.

To test this, manually select the face vents (override the auto settings), and then try changing from heat to cooling.
I have a manual system and set the air directly to the top vents (on my face)
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Sr. Member
Sep 4, 2006
869 posts
524 upvotes
Ottawa
Plug in a scan tool/bluetooth OBD2 adapter and ,monitor the actual coolant temp and watch the temps increase/decrease with the closing and opening of the thermostat. Anything else is guess work. Once you have this data, you can troubleshoot.
Sr. Member
Oct 10, 2020
539 posts
289 upvotes
hightech wrote: I have a 2012 Camry LE with 183000 KM and noticed that it seems to take 15 to 20 min before the heat from the vents is nice and hot. I have had the coolant completely replaced last year as well as the thermostat changed at the time. The level of coolant is also at the full line in the overflow tank.

As a test, I put this additive in the coolant overflow tank and not the radiator as the vehicle was warm and didn't want to get sprayed when I open the radiator cap: https://www.hyperlube.com/ca/product/qu ... directions. I just put this in yesterday and am not sure if it made a difference or not. Time will tell.

I had read somewhere that some people suggest to reverse flush the heater core and when I asked my mechanic that they didn't want to do it. Their reason is that the water will mess up the coolant mixture and the Toyota coolant is already at 55/45 mix

Just to be clear, when the heat from the vents is hot, the car gets very warm. When I put my fingers in the air vents, I can't keep them there for long as the heat feels like it is burning them.

As an aside, is it normal to have the air pressure lower when it is on heat vs. cool. For example, if I keep the fan speed to the middle and set the temp to the left (cold) I can feel a blast of air. If I turn the dial to the right (all the way to hot) the flow of air feels diminished. Both the cabin filter and air filter are new.

What would you suggest?

Thanks

It was better before?

Coolant was "flushed" ( may have caused a clog )?

The replacement thermostat may be bad too ( stuck open ). The engine/coolant takes longer to warmup?
Deal Addict
Oct 1, 2015
1117 posts
1349 upvotes
Barrie, ON
Everything is pointing towards a bad thermostat. A flush is never a bad idea, but if the heater core was plugged or blocked, you'd never get any sort of heat out of it. The fact that you're getting burning hot heat out of it (it's just taking a while) says to me the heater core is fine.

In these really really cold temps, it's not uncommon for a car to take a bit to warm up, especially if you're in stop and go driving. If you let the care idle for 15mins, does it get up to temp?
Jr. Member
Mar 13, 2019
137 posts
86 upvotes
Pop another T-stat in it (they're cheap and 2 bolts). If that doesn't fix it, clean out the heater core

Member
May 7, 2016
446 posts
365 upvotes
Thermostats fail open (meaning when they break they stay in the open position) and that could explain why your car takes long to warm up, but if you said it was changed recently I don't know what to say. As mentioned above, get an OBD2 reader and keep an eye on the coolant temperature, assuming your Camry doesn't have a coolant temperature gauge.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 15, 2009
1296 posts
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I would make sure, Thermostat is dealership Toyota brand. The last part about hot air being diminished got me thinking about flap door not opening correctly. But it depends upon you setting of knob. Direct air toward feet, middle or windshield. It might take air to circulate little bit longer.

There could also be a problem of installing Thermostat incorrectly, the pin has to be directed in specific way. On my Civic they say it has to be pointed upward.
Last edited by MasterMK on Feb 15th, 2021 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Dec 23, 2003
14903 posts
3294 upvotes
Toronto
Thanks for the suggestion everyone.

The Thermostat was OEM Toyota as I did the coolant change and thermostat change at the dealership. I took a drive today and the car started to give me warm air from the vents in about 4 minutes which was not bad at all. Granted today was only -5 and perhaps that additive helped as well. After about 10 min the air temp was HOT and I had to turn the temp dial to the middle as I was boiling. I will check it out when I go for a drive next weekend and if it is cold that would be a good test.
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Deal Addict
Oct 1, 2015
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Barrie, ON
hightech wrote: Thanks for the suggestion everyone.

The Thermostat was OEM Toyota as I did the coolant change and thermostat change at the dealership. I took a drive today and the car started to give me warm air from the vents in about 4 minutes which was not bad at all. Granted today was only -5 and perhaps that additive helped as well. After about 10 min the air temp was HOT and I had to turn the temp dial to the middle as I was boiling. I will check it out when I go for a drive next weekend and if it is cold that would be a good test.
I think your issue is the frigid temps we've been seeing these past weeks.

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