Nobody likes sitting in an oppressively hot car on a sweltering day. For Australians, having a working A/C unit in the car is a must.
Not only does your air conditioner provide comfort, it can also keep you safe during the summer. Without a working A/C unit, the hot interior of your car can raise your body temperature to dangerously high-levels. So, when you notice your air conditioner starting to act up, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as you can.
A number of things can go wrong when it comes to auto air conditioning. While your mechanic will be able to identify the specific problem, it helps to understand some of the common car AC problems so you know what to expect.
1. The Condenser is Blocked or Broken
Using the airflow from the front of your car, the condenser re-cools the hot refrigerant that comes from the compressor. As you drive, debris from the road can easily get stuck in the filter and block the air from reaching your condenser. Without airflow, the condenser will not be able to cool the refrigerant, leaving you with an A/C unit that blows hot air.
To check if your condenser is blocked, look at the front of your vehicle and see if there’s debris in the grill. You should be able to remove this without much issue.
If there’s no debris in the grill and the problem persists, you might be dealing with a broken condenser. Sometimes materials from the road can pass through the grill and damage the condenser itself. If you see punctures on the condenser, chances are it will need to be replaced.
2. Refrigerant Leak
A refrigerant leak is a common cause of faulty A/C units. Refrigerant leaks typically occur around the A/C unit’s hose connections. Sometimes you’ll notice an oily substance building up where there’s a refrigerant leak.
Because leaks are difficult to find with the naked eye, mechanics often use UV light to detect them. Once the damage has been pinpointed, the mechanic can then apply an appropriate sealant to close it up. Alternatively, you can do it yourself by getting the proper sealant at an auto parts shop.
3. Faulty Cooling Fans
Debris from the road can cause damage to your cooling fans as well. Faulty fans mean that your condenser won’t work properly. Without the fans, your A/C unit will only expel hot air.
To check the fan, first look for any visible damage. If you can see any cracks, you will have to get the fan replaced. If the fan seems to be in good shape, it might be an electrical issue and you will need to talk to a qualified auto electrician.
4. Compressor Problems
The compressor circulates refrigerant throughout the unit. It is an integral part of the cooling cycle and without it, your A/C unit won’t function properly.
Oftentimes the compressor breaks down due to inactivity throughout the colder seasons. Sudden use can shock the compressor and cause it to malfunction.
To ensure that your compressor is in good shape, turn on A/C every now and then during the winter seasons. Using your air conditioners for a few minutes every month or so will keep the compressor active and working. It will also extend its lifespan, potentially saving you from having to repair or replace it.
5. Electrical Issues
Electrical issues are difficult to diagnose and are tricky to repair. So, if you suspect that your A/C unit is not working due to electrical problems, it’s best to see a qualified auto electrician.
It can be tough to concentrate on the road when you’re dripping with sweat. Take note of some of the points we discussed above and see if you can pinpoint the source of your A/C issues. If you’re not sure where to start, you can always visit your local car service shop for some help.