Things to Consider When Shopping for Heater Knobs
If you live in a cold area, or are naturally chilly, your car's heater control knob is your friend among all knobs on the instrument panel. This controls the heat level in your car to give you a relaxed and comfortable ride. Like any other part in the car, even this simple knob can get damaged and replaced. This is a guide on some of things to look out for when buying new heater knobs.
Heater knobs come in many different looks styles and designs. We classify them into three groups to help you pick a good set for your car.
- OE style: There is nothing fancy with this style. An OE style will look exactly like the original knob your car came with. Modern cars have the usual finish is black plastic finish. If you are happy with the current look of your old knob, choosing this style is a no-brainer.
- OE style modified: This is where things get a little more interesting. Basically, this type of design is molded based on the basic OE style knob. It will have the same shape, the same contour, the same feel. The difference is in the color and finish. Instead of simple black, you can choose any other color you want (if available). Flashy chrome with little trimming is available as well. Pick this if you want to break a little from the stale look of stock knobs.
- Radical style: The knob is at its flashiest and wildest with this design. Using a basic shell, manufacturers can customize this by putting any color they want on it. More style is added by etching a drawing like a star, cross, flame, skull, etc. This is just one of the many variations to choose from. Be radical for if you are serious with really changing the interior's look.
Other than the looks, there are a couple of minor details you have to consider. If you are picking a creative knob, pick a set that which its design will not fade. What good is your flashy knob if it will easily lose its looks.
Lastly, whatever the look of your knob, the main factor to consider is if it actually controls the heat. Do not buy a knob, no matter how pretty it is, if it won't fit on your car. You'd rather be warm and comfy with an ugly knob than freezing cold on an awesome one.
Car Installation 101: Heater Knobs
New heater control knobs are a great and easy way of customizing the look of your car's interior. Because these are often moved for temperature control, the design will soon fade, or worse, these won't engage well to make adjustments to heating and cooling. Whether you are installing new ones to replace worn-out knobs, or you just want a change the design, it is a quick job that will give you great satisfaction.
Difficulty level: Easy
- Hacksaw or Dremel tool
- Flat nose pliers
- Replacement knobs
Step 1: Turn off the car's engine, put the car on park, and engage the handbrake to make sure the car does not roll.
Step 2: Remove the old knobs. There are three ways of doing this, depending on how the panels are inserted on your car.
- If you are able to access the screws that hold the panel of the knobs, unscrew them to remove the panel from the console. Pull out the knobs.
- For hidden screws, place the old knobs at the 12 o'clock position. Grab a pair of flat nose pliers to pull the knob out. Wiggle it side to side to help in the removal.
- The last is a similar, yet crudest, method. Get a pencil, and trace a line along the old knob. Grab your hacksaw or Dremel tool, and cut off the knob from the panel. Peel it off to finish.
Keep any screws that were used on them. You might need them for the replacement.
Step 3: Trim the mounting rod according to the size of the replacement knobs if necessary. Cut it to a point where the new knob will fit and line with the panel.
Step 4: Put on the rod any screws and bearings needed. Insert the new knob. Make sure it is a snug fit and that all the knobs are level with each other.
Step 5: Turn on the engine. Test the knobs if you are able to fully twist them either way, and that the temperature is adjusted.
This quick repair can take about 15 minutes.