Depending on how much time you spend commuting, air conditioning isn’t a luxury feature on your automobile; it’s a necessity! Over time, your vehicle’s AC can lose coolness or stop working entirely. Before you take it to the shop for a diagnosis, you can tackle some at-home troubleshooting by knowing the three top reasons your car’s air conditioning may have stopped working.
#1: A Malfunctioning Compressor
The compressor is one of the major working parts of a vehicle’s air conditioning system. If it’s on the fritz, you’re in for a stuffy ride. Luckily, diagnosing the compressor is the most logical and easiest place to start when your AC stops working.
Troubleshooting is completed in two stages:
- Start the car and leave it running. Turn your interior fan onto high and check to see if the compressor’s clutch is engaged. The clutch is the center most piece that engages the pulley to the compressor shaft. Lack of movement usually indicates compression failure. In contrast, rapid movement may indicate low refrigerant levels.
- If the clutch does not engage, there may be a lack of voltage reaching the compressor. Use a voltmeter to diagnose. Lack of voltage can be an indication of a bad or blown fuse or a lack of refrigerant.
#2: A Weak or Leaking Air Flow
What if your car is outputting cool air, but it’s barely blowing? The problem could be a weak or leaking air flow, which can be caused by several failures:
- A failed blower motor
- An inoperable fan
- An issue with a blower motor resistor
- A vacuum leak
- Damage to or failure of the condenser or evaporator
In some cases, an issue with the air flow is a warning sign of electrical system issues. Although electrical hiccups can be tedious to track down, finding and repairing them early on produces the best outcome.
#3: Lack of Refrigerant
The refrigerant used to cool the air that passes through the AC system is most commonly known as Freon. When coolant levels are low, the unit will still blow air, but it will be lukewarm or hotter depending on the day’s temperature.
A Freon leak is most commonly caused by a failed seal, hose, or o-ring. Closing the leak and refilling the coolant to optimal levels will solve the issue.
Like any part of an automobile, the air conditioning unit requires maintenance. Check with your vehicle’s manufacturer for detailed information regarding how and when to have your AC system serviced. If your car’s AC requires maintenance, contact a company like Modern Auto Air.