Car Air Conditioning Problems — Diagnosis and Repair

In the heat of summer, there’s nothing more frustrating than a problem with your car air conditioning system. The interior of your car can reach up to 172 degrees Fahrenheit!

To avoid cooking yourself in the driver’s seat, you will need to keep your air conditioning running as smoothly as possible. Here are some common air conditioning problems your vehicle might experience, and what you should do about them.

There’s No Cold Air Coming From The Vents 

You’ve just wrapped up a day at the water park and are ready to head home. The sun is glaring, you’re a bit sunburned, and the kids are growling about the heat. You pile your family into the car and turn on the air conditioning, desperate for some cold air. But instead of cooling relief, the vents blow stifling hot air. What could this car air conditioning problem be?

First things first. Let the AC run for a few moments. It may just take some time to get up and running. If after a minute or two you’re still just feeling hot air, it’s possible you have a refrigerant leak.

Take your car to a mechanic and have them verify that this is the case. If you just need to add more refrigerant to your system, this will cost you around $200. If there’s a bigger underlying issue, and your mechanic needs to repair a leak, you can expect to pay more.

There’s No Air Coming From Your Vents At All

If there’s no air coming from your vehicle’s vents at all, that’s obviously not normal. So what can cause this car air conditioning problem?

Well, there are a few reasons your vents may be out of service. The first thing you’ll want to do is replace the fuse. This is a quick, cheap fix that you can do yourself. If you have trouble locating the fuse just consult your vehicle owner’s manual.

Unfortunately, the problem can sometimes be more serious. You may have a damaged belt or blower motor. Or it could be possible that either your fresh or your recirculated air intake is blocked.

A damaged serpentine belt will cost you around $200 to replace, including labor. A blower motor will cost you around the same. If your air intake is blocked, you’ll have to check with your mechanic. They can diagnose the problem, but you can expect to pay upwards of $600 for this fix.

Your Air Conditioning Smells Like Mold Or Mildew

This is actually quite a common car air conditioning problem. Your vehicle’s evaporator coil sometimes builds up bacteria and other nasty stuff. This builds up and can eventually clog the entire drain line.

When your drain line is clogged, the water that is normally deposited onto the ground is now deposited into your vehicle. You’ll usually notice this on the passenger side, but some of you may feel a drip or two on your gas pedal while you drive.

People with a little bit of mechanical savvy can usually clear the drain line themselves. Consult with the instructions for how this process should work. In the case that you don’t feel completely confident, it’s best to take your car to a technician to have the line professionally cleared. The cost will vary depending upon whether parts need to be replaced.

Your Air Conditioner Is Louder Than It Should Be

When you run your air conditioner, it should make very little noise. There may be a faint hum as the air is cooled, but there should never be any knocking, squealing, or rattling.

If you’re hearing noise coming from your car’s air conditioner, it’s best to take it to a mechanic. They can diagnose the problem for you with minimal issue-much more easily than an inexperienced person can.

The car air conditioning problem could be something serious, like a bearing that’s worn. Your clutch could have failed. Or it could be something as simple as leaves and road debris in your AC unit.

To avoid repairs that are even costlier, stop running your air conditioning until you have the system professionally checked by a technician.

Conclusion: Problems with Air Conditioning Systems

When you have car air conditioning problems it can all but ruin your summer. Some issues are very easy fixes-you may just need to replace a fuse! Other issues will require more skilled hands. To keep your air conditioning running its best, take your car to a technician if you don’t feel comfortable diagnosing the problem yourself.