Nobody likes getting into a sweltering car, but it’s such a relief to turn on your AC and feel that cool air kick in. Until the day it doesn’t kick in. Or maybe your car’s air conditioner activates but doesn’t cool your cabin the way it used to.
To prevent car AC breakdowns, follow your vehicle manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule -- and have your AC checked at the first sign of trouble.
If you’re already having AC problems, request a Car AC Check appointment today.
Why is my AC blowing hot air?
Between the compressor, the AC clutch, and (most commonly) the refrigerant level, there are several reasons why a car air conditioner can stop blowing cold air:
- Refrigerant loss: Low refrigerant (coolant) is the most common cause of AC problems, and the solution is a Car AC Recharge -- plus repairs to any leaking AC components that may be causing your vehicle to lose refrigerant faster than expected.
- Blocked air flow: Anywhere between the compressor, the condenser, and the air vents into your cabin, any blockage to air flow will shut down your AC system.
- Broken or worn AC parts: Depending on the vehicle, your AC system may include a compressor, AC clutch, condenser, thermal expansion drive, receiver, dryer, orifice tube, accumulator, evaporator, and blower. Any of these parts, and the lines and connections between them, may need service.
How often should my car’s AC be checked?
There is no industry-standard interval to check vehicle climate control systems. Best advice: follow the maintenance schedule in your vehicle manual.
Your local Midas technician will discuss the results of your AC Check with you before making any repairs. And remember, every Midas Touch Courtesy Check1 includes a visual inspection of your vehicle’s AC system. It’s one more reason to make Midas a regular part of your vehicle maintenance routine.
What are the signs that my car AC is going out?
- Your vehicle AC doesn’t cool your cabin as effectively as it used to: If warm air from your vents (or no air at all) is your first sign of AC trouble, the culprit may be a minor problem, like low coolant or a clogged vent. You could also have a broken fan.
- Your AC makes unfamiliar sounds: What you hear rattling around in your car’s climate control system could also be a minor problem, like debris ingested from outside. It could also be a broken part anywhere in the system. (Remember: any new sound from your vehicle should be checked by a qualified mechanic.)
- Your vehicle cabin smells bad: Mold in your car AC system – a respiratory health hazard – can generate a funky smell. New odors from your vehicle also need immediate attention. They signal simple problems like an overdue air filter replacement and significant safety hazards like Exhaust Leaks.
- Coolant stains under your vehicle: Car AC coolant has a sweet smell and a texture that people describe as greasy, filmy, or slimy. (Another reminder: any fluid under your car besides water should be checked by a mechanic.)
- Water leaking into your vehicle: A healthy AC system will drain water outside your vehicle. But a clog in your water line can cause water to back up in other places, like your floor mats.
What are the symptoms of a bad AC Compressor?
You know your car AC system needs service when it cools less effectively or refuses to kick in at all -- but here are some signs that your compressor is the culprit:
- Unusual compressor noise: In the compressor, worn-out bearings or other interior components can cause (noisy) friction.
- Visible damage, debris, or dirt on the compressor.
- The compressor clutch won’t engage: Listen the next time you turn your AC on. You’ll hear a switch moving before your compressor kicks in. That’s the clutch switch. It can break (or get stuck in the off position).
What causes car AC compressor failure?
While the air compressor is just one part of your car AC system that can break down, it’s a part that many drivers understand from dealing with AC problems at home. Here are some common causes of AC compressor failure:
- Refrigerant is too low to maintain air pressure
- Low lubricant
- Blocked suction lines
- Dirty coils
- Electrical problems
- Midas Touch Courtesy Check includes visual checks of brakes, battery, air filter, fluids, belts, and hoses.↩