Why Isn’t My Car A/C Working?

The summer months here in Battle Ground, WA can get hot, with July and August temperatures soaring up into even the 100’s. Being able to keep your car cool can make the difference between enjoying a warm summer day and feeling stuck in an inferno.

5 Common Vehicle Air Conditioning Problems & How to Fix Them

Air conditioner vent1. A/C initially blows cold, but then stops

Some components in the system could be freezing (literally).

For a temporary solution, turn off the system for a bit and let it thaw. This will allow the build-up of ice on the evaporator coils to melt away. This may happen when the air conditioning system is working hard in high humidity. If the problem continues, it could indicate a more serious issue. In this case, have a shop check it out.

2. Air not getting cold enough

Air conditioning dial

A quick note: while it is common to think of recharging cooling systems in terms of refilling the “freon,” that term actually no longer applies. Freon itself has been prohibited by the EPA due to negative environmental effects. Freon has since been replaced by other refrigerants.

Refrigerant is the general term for the fluid at the heart of all air-conditioning systems. There are several different types on the market, including R12a and R-134a. If you come across CFC-12, that is actual Freon, which you should steer away from.

Leaks in vehicle cooling systems commonly develop after several years, and while a refrigerant refill will most likely fix the immediate situation, it will not solve the underlying problem.

Refrigerant leaks come in all sizes and the release of any refrigerant into the atmosphere is harmful to the environment. Unless you already feel very comfortable working under the hood and have a reliable pressure sensor, we recommend taking your car in to get the leak checked out by a professional.

3. Air is cold, but it’s not blowing out

car compressor

This mostly likely means that the fan itself has stopped working. While the repair itself may be relatively simple, it involves taking apart the car’s dashboard in order to access all the components. We recommend leaving this to an experienced mechanic.

4. Air pressure is normal, but air coming out is hot

There are several possible causes. It could be that your A/C has lost its charge of refrigerant, or that there is something wrong with the compressor. There could also be something stuck in the refrigerant circuit that’s preventing the refrigerant from circulating.

If you are comfortable looking under the hood, then first check out the compressor. See if it engages when you turn on the A/C. If it succeeds, that means the problem is inside the air-conditioning unit itself. The motor that controls the blend air door may need replacing, which involves taking apart the dashboard. This should is a rather complicated task, and should be left to a technician.

5. Funky odor coming out from vent

dirty air filter

This could mean a quick filter change, or could be indicative of a larger problem. Most vehicles now have a filter specifically for air coming into the car for the heating and cooling systems. Problems with the air filter could be something simple such as it being dirty or having mold build-up. In these cases, replacing the air filter can be done DIY with a store-bought replacement filter, or professionally by one of our experienced technicians.

The most frequent cause of air not getting sufficiently cold is that the air conditioning unit’s refrigerant levels are low. The immediate solution would be to “recharge” the unit, meaning fill it with more refrigerant.

Take your car in for service ASAP if:

  • Air from the A/C smells like fuel. This means there is probably a gas leak, which should be left to a trained mechanic.
  • Air from the A/C smells sweet. This means there is some kind of leak in the cooling system, quite likely of antifreeze or ethylene glycol. Try to determine where coolant from engine cooling system could be getting into air for the air-conditioning system. A good mechanic will be able to pinpoint the problem or leak.

Affordable Air Conditioner Repairs in Battle Ground, WA

Air conditioner problems can often be quite simple and economical to have repaired. We at Grease Monkey take pride in our work, and are happy to help you restore your car’s cooling system to like new.

Our expert mechanics can quickly assess your air-conditioning system to see what kind of repairs would be needed, and give you a free estimate.

Enjoy a more comfortable ride this summer. Stop by Grease Monkey to get your vehicle’s A/C checked out today!