The air conditioning system of your vehicle is an important feature that keeps the temperature inside your car comfortable. However, it is one of the things that get worn and damaged due to frequent usage and old age. When your vehicle’s air conditioning fails to provide the right temperature that you need, it’s important to have it checked, serviced, and repaired as necessary.
But how do you determine when your car’s air conditioning system is need of maintenance and/or repair? This article walks you through the ten signs of a bad or failing air conditioning which should serve as warnings. Whenever you notice any of these signs, you need to have it checked and repaired right away.
Here are 10 signs that your auto’s A/C unit needs repair:
1. Weak Airflow
A weak airflow coming out of your car’s air conditioner means that the air is having trouble reaching your air vents. This can be caused by an accumulated mold or mildew in the evaporator core, loose blower hose, fried ventilation fan, or opened core case seals, blower house seals, or evaporator core case seals.
2. Leaking Dashboard
A visible water stain on your mat can be an indication that your dashboard is leaking. A leaking dashboard can be a sign that your hose is clogged, which prevents it from sipping the water out. Age and moisture may cause A/C system leaks. This can create further damage to other components so it needs to be fixed immediately.
3. Losing Its Cool
When you notice your vehicle’s air conditioning begins to lose its cool, it may be due to lack of refrigerant, a clogged expansion tube or refrigerant charging hose, broken compressor, broken blower motor, damaged condenser or evaporator, or a failed fuse or switch. This symptom may need a small maintenance or a major repair, depending on what’s causing it.
4. Leaking Refrigerant
The refrigerant is the one responsible for keeping the interior of your car cool. If you notice your air conditioning can no longer provide a cool temperature despite having turned it on for so long, there’s a chance that your refrigerant is leaking. Rubber seals and hoses can lose their elasticity over time, allowing the refrigerant to escape.
If moisture is present, it can cause damage to the accumulator, receiver, or drier. A leaking refrigerant needs immediate attention because it can affect and damage these other vital parts of your A/C.
5. A/C Starting Out Cool Then Suddenly Gets warm
There are many possible causes why your air conditioning system starts blowing out cold air but then suddenly gets warm after a while. It may be caused by a clogged expansion valve which blocks the refrigerant from flowing into the evaporator. This may also be a cause of a damaged compressor clutch that prevents the compressor to maintain the correct pressure. Or it may also be a sign of a blown fuse or leaks.
6. Unusual Noise
When you hear unusual, rattling noise whenever you turn your car’s A/C on, this may be a sign of a broken fan belt or condenser. There’s also a chance that the noise is caused by debris in the fan. Unusual noises should not be ignored because they can be a symptom of a more serious problem.
7. Nasty Odor Coming From the A/C
When you begin to notice nasty odor that smells like sweaty clothes, your A/C’s cabin air filter may be dirty or worn. You need to have this cleaned, or perhaps a replacement is necessary. Regular changing of air cabin filters will help prevent long-term damage to your air conditioning system, and it will also help reduce your fuel consumption.
Aside from dirty or failing cabin air filters, bad odors may also be caused by mouldy evaporator case or air vent. This can put your health at risk because mould can cause allergic reaction to some people. Regular cleaning of the evaporator case and the air vent will help fix this issue.
8. Compressor Clutch Not Moving
When your compressor clutch is not moving, it is a sign that your A/C compressor has a problem. The compressor clutch allows the compressor to turn only when it needs to be. When the clutch stops moving, it can either seize, which permanently keeps the compressor activated; or break, which prevents the compressor from receiving engine power. When this happens, the clutch or the entire compressor may need to be replaced.
9. Leaking Oil
If the A/C evaporator, compressor, condenser, lines, or fittings have problems, it may leak compressor oil. An oil leak will prevent the air conditioning system to function properly and produce cool air. A leaking oil may not be easily visible, but it is an underlying issue that causes your A/C system’s sudden inability to produce cool air.
10. Burning Odor
When you notice a burning odor when you turn your air conditioning on, chances are the wirings of your compressor are burnt or overheated. Damaged compressor wirings prevent the vehicle’s air conditioning system to function properly. You will need to repair or replace the wirings immediately to fix this issue.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
The air conditioning system is an important component of your vehicle that makes your ride more comfortable. Getting a regular car maintenance check-up is important to keep your A/C system in its best condition and to prevent long-term and more serious damage. Maintenance and thorough check up of your A/C system should ideally be done at least once a year. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Most car shops offer services for air conditioning maintenance and repairs, but not all of them are RACQ approved and offer nation wide warranty. It’s important to entrust your vehicle to the experts who can provide a reliable and high-quality service.