Page updated on 04-25-2018

"steam/smoke" coming from vents

03-13-2006, 12:49 PM
I am really not all that handy with cars, but I'm learning ...
I have a 1995 Tercel that has recently been pumping smoke or steam from the vents and is fogging up my windshield. Well, the steam is sporatic, but my windshield constantly fogs up and using a/c is not clearing it up.

I suspect this has something to do with my radiator. My father-in-law looked at it and suspects that I may have a crack in my radiator. I have to add antifreeze about everyother week, so I think this suspision is correct.

Could this me causing my fogging/steam(smoke) issue? Can some stop-leak fix the problem or am I looking at replacing the radiator? The car has over 130,000 miles on it but still runs pretty good.

Any ideas?

03-13-2006, 03:47 PM
No expert on that car, but anytime that occurs, the heater core is leaking and pumping moisture into your vents. Usually see coolant dripping on the passenger side floor mat.

03-13-2006, 09:43 PM
aounds like heater core, do you get a surup smell in the car when the heat is on?

03-13-2006, 09:52 PM
absolutely. I check under the car tonight and saw coolent (i think) dripping around about the passenger side. It's good to hear it's not my radiator (i think).

So now I gotta replace this heater core, but I've checked my Tercel Shop Manual and I cannot find any reference to a 'heater core'. Is there another name of it? Also, how much of a pain will the job be?

03-14-2006, 11:46 AM
depends where it is at, on most cars i would rather replace a raditor any day over a heater core.

04-28-2011, 12:59 PM
I had the same issues as the others described, smoke (not mist) coming from vents. It really perplexed me. I thought, smoke, the fuses aren't burning out, fan works with no noise, etc. I thought about it and thought about it, what could be the source of this smoke. Another crazy thing that threw me off was, AC stopped working a few weeks ago (everything working fine just no freon) and the smoking stopped. I had it repaired, air working fine, smoke starts again.

Did some searches and people said to check the evaporate core drain.

I went and checked it out sure enough, I could see crud stopping it up. it was draining very slowly. Also, as for the source of the smoke. I noticed the drain rubber grommet had completely fallen out of the firewall and was lying on the heatshield ( few inches from the exhaust pipe). I found this after driving some distance. When I popped the hood and checked out the drain, I could see smoke coming from the hot rubber grommet. Turning on the air conditioner pulls this smoke right into the cabin of the vehicle.

So, I figure the source of smoke is from the grommet and it is filling the water around my evaporator core resevoir and dash with smoke particles.

The evaporator core was filling with water (alot).

It was happening really sporadically which threw me off as well.

So clean out evap core drain and put in new rubber grommet. I thought that I was going crazy.

Add your comment to this topic!