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If you dont want to replace it, you can bypass it my disconnecting the 2 hoses that goes to the core and just connect them together.(some have special quick connects others are just hoses) Then flush the core out with compressed air to get the coolant out of the core.
Redbird is correct If the core goes bad it will leak cooland into the cabin of you car. Very nasty and not fun to clean up.
Well if the core goes bad it will probably leak which will let coolant get into the car so ud have a nasty smell, wet carpet, and eventually an overheating engine....
My heater core isn't leaking but it is going on 13 years old and I've been slowly doing all kinds of preventative maintenance, replacing tons of things that haven't failed yet with new parts.
How hard is it to change a heater core, 1998 Trans Am?
Is it something I can do, NOTR being a mechanic in any way?
..............and one of things I've always kept in my car, along with a small tool kit, gallon of coolant, gallon of gas and some other simple parts......is an 8" long piece of heater hose just in case that heater core ever burst while far away from home. That way I can just bypass the core, fill the radiator back up and be on my way.