If your car's air conditioning goes out on a hot summer day, your commute to work and to run errands is going to be miserable. There's nothing quite like being stuck in a hot car in the middle of a traffic jam. If your air conditioning isn't blowing cold air, there are a few different things that could be wrong with it. Here are some of the most common issues and what you can do to fix them.
It Needs Recharging
The most common cause of an air conditioner not getting cold enough is that it needs to be recharged. You can recharge your refrigerant by yourself, but if you're not comfortable doing it, one of our ASE Certified mechanics are standing by and should be able to get your cold air flowing again pretty quickly.
There's a Freon Leak
Freon is the chemical that cools the air, so if there's a leak in the system, it will eventually run low or run out. Todays A/C systems are very sensitive. They require a specific amount of Freon, measured in pounds, to operate correctly. The proper way to check the system for the correct volume of Freon is with a charging machine. This device will first remove all Freon form the system then input the correct amount for proper operation. Freon leaks may be very, very slow. If you add more Freon and lose your cold air within a few weeks, however, you may need to have the hoses and other system components checked and replaced.
The A/C Compressor May Not Engage
This problem can occur due to a variety of conditions. Failure can occur when there's an electrical fault in your compressor's circuit or clutch, Freon can be low or the vehicle can be overheating. Today's cars are computer controlled and one of the first systems that is turned off when the computer senses an engine problem is the A/C system. Usually, the malfunctioning part has to be replaced by a qualified mechanic.
The Blend Air Door is Stuck
There's a small hatch inside your car's ventilation system called the "blend air door". When you turn your environmental system from heat to cold, the door should change to drawing in cold air. If it doesn't change, it will still be drawing heat from the engine and blowing it on you! Again, this is a job for a qualified mechanic.
You Can Feel Cold Air, But It's Not Blowing
This could mean the A/C's fan has stopped working. It may be as simple as changing a wire, or you may need a new fan unit. Again, this isn't something you can really change yourself, especially since it may require taking apart your car's dashboard to reach all of the components.
Your A/C system is complicated, and while there are some easy fixes like adding Freon, there are also more difficult issues that only a trained and certified mechanic can fix. In a few cases, the problem is indicative of more severe issues, but usually repairing the A/C is a fairly simple job, even when a mechanic has to handle it.
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