For those of us living in Florida, a heater core is not a necessity, or so I thought. Recently, the frequent (every day for months) rain has forced us to drive with the windows and vents closed. This is fine, but in Florida it's 80-90 degrees, and windows fog quickly. My point is a defroster is a must.

I first noticed I had a heater core issue right after I installed new carpet. I returned to the shop the day after the install and noticed this big stain on the carpet on the passenger side. I needed to drive the car, so I angrily disconnected the heater hoses, bypassed the heater core, and drove home. On the way home, I had to turn on the defroster to eliminate the window fog. But, as soon as I turned on the fan, I realized somebody had planted a tree in the heater box; I have never seen that many pine needles and leaves come out of a defroster vent. It was official--the heater box had to come out.

It's a simple job: Remove the four nuts in the engine bay around the heater-blower motor, the support rod in the vent area, and pull out the heater box. Well, there's really more to it than that, but you get the idea. Most of the parts required are available through the aftermarket, so we contacted The Paddock in Knightstown, Indiana, to get them.