Wednesday, 26 March 2014

VW Polo Heater Problems

VW Polo Heater Problems - Intro


My little blue polo TDI has been a great little car and is already at 165k, and going strong. If that is I can demist the windscreen! There are two problems I have

  1. The temperature control knob does not work very well, getting stuck on either hot or cold.
  2. The fan speed only works on setting 3 and 4. 
Problem 2 is dealt with with a replacement part. But please see work around 2 for how I reliably fixed Problem 1. To fix problem 1 properly = ££££ or $$$$

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Fan Speed Fix


On a mark 9 polo this is possibly fixable by the amateur mechanic with adequate patience. There is a great video on you tube posted by Gary Freeburn. This is embedded below:


It basically involves removing the glove box, and some other bit in that area, and then there is a component resembling a circuit board that needs to be replaced. You will need a torx (star shape) screwdriver to do this. From the comments left on the you tube video it looks reasonably easy.

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Temperature Control


This problem is a lot more complicated, and if you want to get it fixed properly you are looking at around £500. The mix of hot and cold air flow is controlled by a valve or flap, with a little motor which can be accessed by removing the glove box, and the shelf trim below the glove box. This is also the case in the Skoda Fabia I believe.

There are many good forum posts on how you might repair this:

Fault codes for VW Polo Heater Problems (and) other details

As you can see its a flipping nightmare to fix, and as my car is probably only worth £2000, I can't be doing with it. However, with a little patience there is a work (wait) around.

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Temperature Control - Work Around


Set the temperature control knob some where between 18 and 22 degrees (10 o'clock to 12 o'clock) and then leave it alone. If you heater is stuck on cold, ie.e blowing cold air all of time, even when switched to hot you may have to wait a while for the flaps to adjust, this could be a few days of normal driving, it may help to drive over some bumps, some people have mentioned switching the fans on and off, and pressing the recycle button, but I find waiting is the only thing that works for sure.

Bear in mind having a heater that is stuck on hot, is far better than having it stuck on cold. So once it is blowing hot leave it alone. And  . . . open a window if you get hot.

VW Polo Heater Problems - Heater Temperature Control - Work Around 2

As mentioned in the intro the problem is either e burnt out motor or, damaged wiring to the motor that controls the hot and cold air mix flap. The mix is controlled indirectly via a thermostatic controller, lord alone knows where that is. . .   Bypass all of this and go old school for a quick and cheap fix, that works well. Click on any of below pictures to enlarge.

Annotated Diagram - Better Picture of Same View 2 Below

Same View As above - Better below

Note brightly lit cog type thing, this is falp for controlling temperature

This is the motor that you can get rid of.

There might be a pink bit on connector, to help identify motor location

View from below teeth of flap arm / arm visable. 

Use a cold start / choke pull bale to operate flap.

Fix cable outer in place firmly, but do not squash.

Carefully drill hole in flap arm / cam and attach end of choke wire or cable. 
The choke cable which I use was solid wire type which was pretty handy, as I could bend the end around to fasten in to the flap arm / cam and also it "pushes" as well as pulls wells. The flap arm / lever / cam will need to be pushed up wards to get hot air, and pulled down to get cold air. A cable (rather then wire) may buckle when in used in this way. 

Rather than dismantle the whole dashboard to unscrew the top of the clip that holds the motor in place, you can just break the clip open at the bottom and pull the crappy motor out. 

If you wanted to keep this really simple, why not just attached a piece of coat hanger to the arm and have it poking down in to foot well, to switch on a off when required. 

Another option might be to screw the flap arm in place half open half closed, for luke warm air all the time. . . maybe.

Have Fun

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