Car Air Conditioning Troubleshooting Car Air Conditioning Troubleshooting

What You'll Need
Fuse
Pressure gauge
Soapy water
Vacuum pump

Car air conditioning is wonderful during a hot summer. But, when it isn't working properly, a sunny, summer drive to the store can be brutal. Depending on what’s causing your air conditioning’s problem, you might notice different signs like a lack of refrigerant or a funky smell. Use this guide to target the symptoms so that you can diagnose the issue.

Poor Cooling

Low Coolant

If your car air conditioning won’t cool well, a low coolant level could be the cause. You can see if you need more refrigerant by hooking up a pressure gauge to the system and checking it with the engine off. Your service manual will give the correct low-pressure measurements. If the readings are excessively low, simply add more refrigerant.

No Refrigerant

If there’s no refrigerant in your car air conditioning, the compressor won’t turn on with most systems. The refrigerant could have dissipated because of a leaky O-ring. Or, there could be a blown fuse. To see why this could be, you will need to check the compressor clutch. If it works but won’t turn the compressor, you’ll might need to replace the entire compressor unit.

Leaking Refrigerant

If you suspect your car air conditioning system is leaking refrigerant, there’s a simple way to check for the problem. With the air conditioner running, spray soapy water on the hose connections and look to see if there’s any bubbling; this will indicate a leak. Check the hoses as well to see if there are any small leaks coming from them. If so, repair the Freon leak.

Intermittent Cooling

Your car air conditioning should cool all the time it’s on. If this isn’t happening, the problem could be because the system is freezing up. You might not have evacuated all the air from the system when you last recharged it. You can purge the system with a vacuum pump by following the instructions in its service manual to get rid of the air.

You could also likely have an electrical issue, ranging from a worn switch to a bad temperature sensor. You won’t be able to check some of these problems easily yourself, so you might need to take your car to a garage that has the proper equipment. This is especially true when you have an automatic air conditioning system. However, if you're up for the task, you can first try repairing your automobile's air conditioning yourself.

Noises

If your car air conditioning is noisy and the sound is coming from the compressor, the chances are that the compressor is failing and will need to be replaced. However, if you’re not certain the noise is coming from the compressor, check your hoses first because they could be hitting against other parts.

Smells

A smell in your car air conditioning is generally indicative of mold in the evaporator. There are sprays you can buy to use on the air intake. Make sure that you empty out the drainage tubes that lead away from the evaporator at the same time you use a spray.

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