Is Your Vehicles A/C Ready to Keep You Cool?

Published on

May 3, 2019

Spring in Northern California brings hot temperatures, and this is the time that most people turn on their vehicles Air Conditioning for the first time. Here are a few tips to inspect your vehicles Air Conditioning system before the really hot weather arrives.

Check Your Vehicles Cabin Air Filter

Your vehicles cabin has an air filter, which is responsible for keeping the air that you breathe in your vehicle clean. It filters the air from under your vehicles hood and into your vehicle’s interior. The cabin air filter is located either inside your glove box, under the dashboard or under the hood. Wherever it may be, you should check it regularly to make sure that it is clean and ready for use. If it is clogged, blackened and filled with debris you need to replace it. Replacing it may be all it takes to resolve your car air conditioner problem.

Check Your Vehicles AC Condenser

Under the hood, immediately in front of the radiator, sits the AC Condenser. The condenser can be prone to clogging.  Fortunately, you don’t have to remove the condenser to clean it and free up air flow. Instead, simply put a garden hose on a medium to high setting and direct the water flow through the grille’s louvers. The lower portion of the grille is an especially important target, as that is where contaminants like bugs and debris will collect.

Check the Cooling Fan

What do you do if there is no air coming out of the vents at all? Today’s cars are usually equipped with under-the-hood electric cooling fans so when the air conditioner is on, the cooling fan is working. If it isn’t working, then either the relay, temperature sensor, control module or fan motor has malfunctioned.  If you notice that the electric cooling fans are not working, it is time to have them checked out by a technician.

Examine the Compressor

Another critical component in the car air conditioner system is the compressor. The compressor is tasked with handling low-temperature refrigerant gas and compressing it into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas. When the compressor is working, it sends refrigerant to the condenser. The compressor should be turning if the serpentine belt is turning; if the belt is not turning, it may need to be replaced. If it is turning, then the clutch wire or compressor piston may have broken.

Other possible problems could be a bad thermostat, bad clutch oil or low refrigerant levels, which can cause the compressor to shut down. Unless you have the tools and the expertise required to address these issues, your compressor problems should likely be left to a certified technician.

Troubleshooting Considerations

Although some air conditioner problems can be resolved using common hand tools, more complex problems may require air conditioning testing, scanning and specialty tools, something not every weekend mechanic owns. When in doubt, take your car to a mechanic — a wrong move could do further damage to the air conditioning system.

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