Every Driver’s Summer Nightmare: Car AC Repair
It’s summer. The temperature starts rising, the sweat starts trickling, and the kids start fussing – your car’s air conditioner has gone out. You quickly roll down your windows in an attempt to catch a breeze, only to find that the air outside is just as hot and dry. With the sun searing into your car, you pull into the nearest fast food restaurant and run inside to take refuge in a cool, air-conditioned space. As you guzzle down your iced tea, you’re grateful that you weren’t just baked alive and wonder how on Earth you’re going to survive the summer with no air conditioning in your car.
Although this may be a slightly dramatic illustration of a very common experience, a faulty air conditioner during the summer is serious and every driver’s nightmare. Without air conditioning, the temperature inside of a car can be at least 20 degrees higher than the temperature outside. Because there are no system lights that display the status of your car’s air conditioner, it usually turns up unannounced and when you least expect it.
There are many different causes that could prevent a car’s A/C from functioning properly. By identifying the exact problem, you can conclude whether or not your vehicle requires auto air conditioning repair.
Case #1: Poor Airflow
Often, your car’s air conditioner seems to be functioning properly, yet the cool air exits the vents in a very weak stream – an insufficient amount when it comes to cooling your car in the summer heat.
- Accumulation of mold or mildew: During the cooling process, high levels of moisture are produced in the evaporator core. This creates a perfect habitat for mold, which can prevent the evaporator core from functioning properly and result in the release of an unpleasant odor through your vents.
- Obstruction in the air return: In most cars, the air return is located behind the glove box. An overly packed glove compartment can cause some items, such as a napkin or vehicle registration, to fall back into the air return, restricting the air flow out of the vents.
- A loose hose or open seal: If the blower hose comes loose, less air is supplied to the blower unit, which in turn effects the amount of air released. Similarly, if the seal of an evaporator core is open, air can escape the system and diminish airflow.
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Case #2: A/C Is Not Producing Cold Air
When your car’s air conditioner is not producing cold air, it can actually cause further discomfort rather than relief.
- Not enough refrigerant: Refrigerant is a specially formulated mixture with the sole purpose of transforming hot air into cold air. Hence, when there is not enough refrigerant in an A/C system, the air released into your car could be not cool enough or worse – hot. Loss of refrigerant is natural over time, but could also be the result of a leak. An >auto repair professional, like Marlow Automotive in Plano, can recharge or top-off the refrigerant in your car, restoring the air conditioner’s ability to produce cool air.
Case #3: Air Starts Off Cold, Then Becomes Warm
Your car’s air conditioner should produce cold air the entire time it’s on. However, when something in the air conditioning system is defective, it could result in unpredictable patterns of cool air, then warm air.
- Clogged expansion valve: The expansion valve dispenses the proper amount of refrigerant to your evaporator. Blockage of the valve will prevent the refrigerant from flowing into the evaporator, causing the refrigerant to freeze the valve itself.
- Faulty compressor clutch: The compressor must maintain a certain amount of pressure in order to produce cold air. When the clutch is not functioning properly, the compressor cannot do its job.
- Blown fuse: If a fuse linked with the A/C system goes during a drive, power to parts of it will stop. This can trigger a sudden release of hot air.
No matter what case you are experiencing, it is best to take your car to an auto repair shop at the first sign of trouble. The auto maintenance professional will perform a complete analysis of your car’s air conditioning system and will conclude what methods of auto air conditioning repair will keep your car cool throughout the summer.