Troubleshooting Your Car’s Air Conditioning
Our team of professional service technicians at Complete Auto Service knows nothing is worse than having your air conditioner go out in your car – leaving you hot, frustrated, and worried about how expensive it will be to fix. That sinking feeling you get when the cool air turns hot or isn’t blowing the way it should is the absolute worst.
Before you bring your vehicle into the shop, there are a few things you can do at home to try and get your AC cooling again the way it should. Troubleshooting AC issues in your car in Ann Arbor can save you time, money, and lots of irritation.
Troubleshooting AC Issue 1: Airflow Seems Weak
Maybe your air is cool, but it feels like the flow of air is weak. A quick A/C Performance Check can identify your problem. We’d like to see this problem sooner rather than later, as continued issues can cause more significant long-term issues.
The primary causes of weak airflow are:
- Mold, mildew, or even small debris has accumulated in the evaporator core.
- A hose, like the one that supplies air to the blower unit, has come loose.
- If the fan isn’t blowing, your ventilation fan has likely burned out.
- A seal like the core case seals, blower house seals, or evaporator core case seals have opened, loosened, or dislodged and diminished the airflow.
It’s important to remember that air-conditioning units are sensitive, sealed systems and must remain so. If an air-conditioning system is opened, the entire cooling system is compromised.
Troubleshooting AC Issue 2: Air Not Cold
There are several reasons why your air may not be as cold as you’d like it to be. For this type of problem, it’s best to bring your car into the shop as quickly as possible because it could mean the difference between a minor repair or a big fix.
Your lack of cold air could be caused by one of the following:
- Freon leak caused by a failed 0-ring, seal, hose, or another component
- Failed compressor or compressor clutch
- Clogged expansion tube or refrigerant charging hose
- Failed blower motor or blower motor resistor
- Damaged or failed condenser or evaporator
- Vacuum leaks
- Failed switch, fuse, relay, control module, blend door, or solenoid
Leaks can be the most troubling of all air conditioning issues. When air-conditioners develop a leak, moisture can enter your A/C system and damage other vital parts. As soon as you notice a difference in the temperature of your air-conditioner, bring us your vehicle for an A/C Performance Check. It could mean the difference between a quick, inexpensive fix and a big, expensive fix.
Troubleshooting AC Issue 3: Air Starts Cold, Then Warms
This is so frustrating. Your air feels nice and cool, but then the longer you drive, the warmer the air gets. This can be caused by any one of the following:
- It could be a clogged expansion valve. Your expansion valve distributes the appropriate amount of refrigerant to the evaporator. If valves are blocked, the refrigerant can’t flow the way it should. Refrigerants will start to freeze the valve shut with the valve clogged – especially if moisture is present.
- The compressor clutch could be faulty. If the clutch isn’t engaging with the compressor properly, your compressor can’t maintain the correct pressure, and hot air will result.
- Fuses short out for no good reason. If the fuse associated with your air-conditioner blows, then the power to certain components will stop.
- Leaks are the WORST. Usually the result of damage or the presence of moisture, leaks are a common problem with air-conditioning systems. When moisture and refrigerant mix, acids will eat away at seals, causing an eventual leak.
Troubleshooting AC Issue 4: Air Works, but Smells Terrible
You’d be surprised how common this problem is. Usually, this is a relatively easy fix to a problem that’s almost always caused by one of two things:
- You have a dirty or old air cabin filter.
- Your evaporator case is moldy. Sometimes, water will sit in the evaporator case because the case’s drain is clogged. When that happens, mold will accumulate.
Troubleshooting AC Issue 5: No Air Output
This issue can be a tricky one to diagnose because there are several potential problems. Our technicians will check for:
- Damage to the blower motor or blower resistor. The blower motor is the piece of equipment that blows air through the vents. Blower motors that have malfunctioned will prevent air from coming through the vents. The blower resistor works with the blower motor to regulate airspeed (low/medium/high) based on your setting choice.
- Bad fuse or blown relay. If your ventilation fuse goes out, there is no power to the blower motor, preventing air from blowing through the vents. A bad relay can also be to blame, since the relay takes the small electrical current and regulates the larger current needed for ventilation.
- Damaged belts or hoses. Your air-conditioner system contains many belts and hoses that operate the system. Any kind of leak, hose detachment, or blockage will prevent airflow from the vents.
- Blocked intake. Your vehicle contains two main entry points of air. One is where air enters the vehicle through vents blocked by the lower half of the windshield. The other is air recirculated from inside the cabin. If either of these intake areas gets blocked, your vents may blow little or no air.
Everyone wants to turn on their air-conditioning and have it work properly and blow ice-cold air on demand. Our team at Complete Auto Service understands how frustrating it is to have an air-conditioning system on the fritz.
Remember, bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance checks or as soon as you identify a problem. Many air-conditioning system issues can be fixed quickly and more inexpensively than if you wait and hope the situation resolves. It’s not unlike our health – if we can identify the problem early, we have a much better diagnosis!
Our team at Complete Auto Service on Jackson Avenue is ready to handle your air-conditioning issues. We try hard to get our customers in and out of the shop within a day! We make scheduling easy on our website and post our Ann Arbor Auto Repair coupons online, too.