Tips for Troubleshooting Your Car's Air Conditioning System

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Your car's air conditioning system should work for years without a problem, but this doesn't mean it won't eventually break down and need repairs. Some repairs may be minor, but others may involve replacing large parts on the car, so it's good to know a few signs and symptoms to consider when it comes to your car's A/C system. This will help you understand the type of repair bill you might be facing to get your car's air conditioning system back up and running as quickly as possible. Note the following:

1. The fan blows air, but it's not cool

This is probably the most common air conditioning complaint for cars, and as long as you've checked to ensure that the A/C is on and you're not just blowing plain air from the vents, chances are the system needs a recharge of refrigerant. However, a mechanic will want to check to see if there are leaks in the system that have caused the refrigerant to get low or that may be allowing cold air to blow out of the system before it reaches the car's cab area. 

One common location of refrigerant leaks is around the seals that keep the air and refrigerant in the system. There are tubes and hoses that run from the condenser to the evaporator and the compressor, which blows the air into the cab of the car; all of these are connected with seals. If any of those seals leaks, the refrigerant can leak out or the cold air produced by the system can leak out before it reaches the car's cab. 

2. There is just intermittent cooling

If the vacuum pump to the air conditioning system fails, this can allow ice to build up in the tubes of the air conditioning system. When ice forms, it blocks the cool air from reaching the car, but then as it melts, you'll notice that the system is working again. The vacuum pump of the air conditioning system will remove unwanted moisture from the air conditioning system so that ice cannot form, but when it malfunctions, this excess moisture and condensation in your system can get very cold and then freeze.

Another problem that may cause intermittent cooling is a faulty switch to the compressor. If the compressor does not come on as it should, the air will not get cooled. The switch may only work intermittently which in turn means the compressor will only work intermittently. It may need new wiring or a new switch altogether.