Common Summer AC Issues and Their Fixes

Man attaching cables to recharge car with FreonThere’s this little thing called Murphy’s Law stating that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Perhaps on the hottest day of the year, the air conditioning in your car decides to quit working. That is a perfect example of Murphy’s Law at work. Luckily, when things go wrong with air conditioning systems, there’s a solution to get you feeling cool and comfortable again. At Sun Auto Service, we see many cars with air conditioning systems in need of help, especially on the hottest of days. Here are the most common car AC issues we see during the summer months and the best way to resolve them.

Air Blows Warm: When you first get into your car on a hot day, you expect the air to be warm at least for just a minute and then, as the vehicle picks up speed, the air will transition from warm to cool. When it doesn’t or the air goes from cool to warm, this is a symptom that there is either a leak in the system, an obstruction in the evaporative coils, or a major component has failed such as the compressor, blower, condenser fan, or condenser.

  • Resolution: Leaks in air conditioning systems can be tough to find but it’s important that they are found and fixed before they cause more damage. Prolonged leaks can cause extensive damage to major components, resulting in costly repairs. Additionally, leaks are harmful to the environment, as they emit harmful gas into the atmosphere. Using an electronic leak testing machine or special dye added to the refrigerant, the technician will need to locate the leak for repair.

Weak Airflow: If the air is blowing cool but feels as if it’s on low or medium speed, your air conditioner either has a restriction of airflow to the blower unit, there is mold or mildew in the system, the ventilation fan is in failure, or there are broken seals near the ductwork or airbox.

AC Works Intermittently: When the air goes from cool to warm to cool again, you’re experiencing intermittent problems. This is often due to a clog in the system, a failed compressor or compressor clutch, a faulty condenser fan, a clog in the system, or the actuator directing airflow has failed. It’s also possible that the evaporator has frozen over. When an evaporator has frozen, air flow is restricted. Once the ice melts, however, the air flow functions as usual.

  • Resolution: The first and most simple thing you can do is to replace your cabin air filter. If replacing the filter doesn’t fix the issue, the system could be low on refrigerant or overcharged. In either case, a technician will have to inspect and attempt to duplicate the issue. These kinds of issues are often troublesome because they don’t always act up when we need them to. If the system does not exhibit the symptoms with the technician, you will likely need to return when it occurs again.

AC Stinks: A musty, mildew smell is an unpleasant odor, a clear symptom that either there is a growth of mold or mildew in the evaporator or the cabin air filter is dirty and clogged. If it’s the latter, the fix is simple!

  • Resolution: Replace air filters. Air filters are made to catch dirt and debris from entering your car. Clogged filters prevent a steady airflow, reducing the volume of air and producing smelly odors. If the air filter has been replaced, a professional, anti-bacterial treatment may be required to eliminate the odors.

AC Doesn’t Turn On: When you turn on the air conditioner, you expect it to work. When it doesn’t respond at all, it’s very much possible a major component has failed. Your air conditioning system is made up of several mechanisms including the blower motor, compressor, condenser, expansion valve, evaporator, and other tubes, fans, and blowers that can fail at any time. When one of these many components fail, your air conditioner will not be able to function until it is repaired properly.

  • Resolution: A technician will test your system to determine the cause of the failure. Repairs may include one or more of the components to restore AC function.

More often than not, air conditioning malfunctions are related to a leak that may or may not be accompanied by other issues in the system. Many vehicles today are equipped with intelligent safety devices that block the AC system from functioning when the system is low on pressure as a result of a leak. Oil stains in and around hose connections or on the ground often point to a leak. Leaks, unfortunately, can occur at any time as a result of road debris, corrosion, or loose connections from vibrations and terrain.

When your car’s air conditioning isn’t working as well as it should be, don’t wait! Bring your vehicle to a Sun Auto Service center right away. Our expert Technicians are ASE Certified and provide a no-appointment necessary Free AC Inspection. Our inspection includes a visual inspection of all components including belts and hoses, a duct temperature efficiency test, and an electronic test for leaks or contamination. When repairs are needed, you’ll be impressed with our quality of service using OEM or equivalent parts and the most up-to-date equipment, our outstanding customer service, incredible warranty, and same day service (in most cases). Visit a Sun Auto Service for all your automotive AC repairs today!