What Is Wrong with My Vehicle’s AC?

Driver hand tuning air ventilation grille, fresh air is coming outIt’s Friday afternoon in mid-July. You just wrapped up your work week and are looking forward to a weekend of activities with your family.

You open your car door, start the ignition and warm air blows out your AC. Your air conditioning is out. With no check engine light to warn you and a busy weekend ahead that will now be spent in an oven of a car, all you can think is: “what’s wrong with my air conditioning?”

Like most systems under a car hood, a vehicle’s air conditioning system is complicated. Here’s a list of the common malfunctions wrecking havoc on your air conditioning system.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are significantly harder to spot than other leaks such as oil. Oil leaks leave puddles under your vehicle, whereas refrigerants evaporate once they are no longer under pressure of a vehicle’s air conditioning system. This can come from a loose or corroded hose or even a broken seal.

The best way to find a coolant leak in the air conditioning system is to monitor your vehicle’s refrigerant levels. If you notice these coolant levels are dropping faster than normal, contact Shadow Lake for a consultation.

Problems with the electrical system

The air conditioning system consists of hundreds of wires, fuses, relays and pressure switches keeping everything under control. All it takes is one of these components malfunctioning to throw off the entire system and leave you sweating on your commute.

A worn out compressor or evaporator.

Think of the compressor as the heart of your air conditioning system. It helps circulate the coolants throughout the air conditioning system. Like most things, it wears out over time.

Many assume the AC simply blows cool air into the vehicle, but forget about the evaporator. The evaporator works in harmony with the rest of the AC unit by removing hot air out of the vehicle. Your AC unit might be perfectly pushing cool air into your vehicle but fail to properly circulate air with a malfunctioning evaporator.

Like your car’s electrical system, the mechanics involved are complicated as well. Any slight malfunction in the mechanics can throw off the entire system.

Preventative AC maintenance

While car maintenance isn’t in everyone’s field house, there are some steps you can take to maintain your AC and prevent any future problems.

Make it a habit to run your vehicle’s AC and defrost at least once a week, no matter what the temperature. This is similar to physical activity and your body. Soreness after physical activity is less frequent when you remain active, but can feel like the end of the world after a period of sedentariness. Like your body, a vehicle’s AC unit needs this once a week activity to avoid any kinks or build-ups within the system. This might mean having to bundle up for a 10-minute commute in the wintertime but will save you time and money spent fixing any AC failures.

It’s also good practice to take your vehicle in for service once a year. Ask the mechanic if they service the AC, if not, simply let them know to check it as well. The few extra dollars spent checking the AC will help you avoid a broken AC.

At Shadow Lake Collision Center, we treat your vehicle with care and respect from the time we receive it to the time that you pick it up. In short, we treat your vehicle like it was our own. There is a difference in body shops and we’re proud to say we set the standard in craftsmanship, quality, and customer service.

Contact us at 402.763.5200 for your vehicle repair needs.