In the Southwest, we are most grateful for air conditioning in our cars, especially in the summer. As spring approaches we know it won’t be long before we’re sporting tank tops and flip flops again. That’s why it’s a great time to make sure the air conditioning system is in top condition now, before the heatwave. Prior to summer, most people do not give a thought to when or how often to service their cars’ A/C. Air conditioning systems can quit working for several reasons. Let’s explore the most common car A/C issues so that you can stay cool in the spring and through the hottest part of the summer.
The air conditioning system is made up of a series of components that work together to keep you and your passengers comfortable as you drive. One of these components includes your car’s A/C compressor, which is powered by the engine, an expansion valve to regulate the flow of refrigerant, and the heat exchangers—the condenser and evaporator. Refrigerant is the magical element that travels throughout the system and transforms from a liquid state to gas and back to a liquid again.
Most of the time, air conditioning issues are the result of a lack of refrigerant in the system due to a leak. When there is little to no refrigerant in the system, there is a reduction in pressure preventing components from performing their tasks. Here are some of the most common car A/C issues:
If you get into your car and turn the air conditioner on full blast but get nothing, that’s a problem. This issue can be caused by a few things:
- A blown fuse
- Failed blower motor or blower resistor
- Blocked air intake
Any kind of noise that wasn’t there before is alarming. Most common A/C noises are rattling, banging, or humming. This issue could indicate:
- An obstruction such as leaves or other debris in the system
- Worn bearing
- Blower motor
- Major component failure
When you turn on your air conditioning, you shouldn’t smell anything. Foul odors indicate the growth of bacteria such as mold, mildew, fungus, and other micro-organisms behind the dashboard on the evaporator. The foul odors are often caused due to:
- Age of the vehicle
- Infrequent use of the air conditioner
- Moisture in the system due to excess condensation
Moisture that is supposed to be directed outside of your vehicle gets backed up and starts to spill out onto the passenger’s side floor. This is often the result of:
- Clogged drain line
- Excess condensation
When the air is cool but could be a lot colder and struggles to reach a comfortable temperature, this can be caused by:
- Low refrigerant
- Obstructed condenser or failed condenser
- Obstruction in the system affecting the pressures
Unexpected Changes in Temperature
If the air was set to a cold temperature and was working sufficiently, but suddenly turns warm, it could be:
- Failed expansion valve
- Clogged evaporator
- Low refrigerant causing a lack of pressure
Air conditioning troubles can be a real headache. You can help to prevent any major air conditioning troubles by being proactive in having your air conditioning system serviced. How often is it recommended to service your car’s A/C? Annual service in the springtime is the best time to bring your car in for an Air Conditioning Inspection.
At Sun Auto Service, we see our share of vehicles with air conditioning troubles. From trucks low on refrigerant to car A/C compressor issues, we’re prepared to help! Our ASE Certified Technicians are knowledgeable and have the expertise to diagnose and repair any A/C issues your vehicle may be experiencing. We service all makes and models of cars and light trucks and are one of the few service centers able to work on the newest systems such as the 1234-YF air conditioning systems. Schedule an appointment at any of our locations today for a FREE Air Conditioning Inspection performed in just 30-minutes!
Free A/C Inspection Includes:
- Visual inspection of belts and hoses
- Electronic test for leaks or contamination
- Major component operation inspection
- Duct temperature efficiency measurement
Some vehicles may require an evacuation and recharge of the system to remove all moisture with the use of a vacuum. The recharge restores refrigerant oil to proper levels with the addition of dye to identify any leaks that may occur in the future.
Vehicles today vary greatly from those of the past. Today’s cars and trucks hold less refrigerant and operate with higher pressures. This means that we demand more out of air conditioning systems than ever before. Due to these demands, systems are often more vulnerable and may require additional attention.