Why Is My Car’s A/C Not Working?

May 19th, 2023 by

Having a malfunctioning car air conditioner can be frustrating, especially when the weather is warm or you’re on a road trip that sees you driving for hours on end. There can be several reasons why a vehicle’s air-conditioning system isn’t working as it should, ranging from minor issues you can fix easily to more serious problems requiring the attention of a professional. This article by the team at Performance Kings Honda in Cincinnati, Ohio, outlines some of the most common reasons for this issue, and we hope that reading it can help you become a better-informed vehicle owner.

Refrigerant Is Leaking

The refrigerant is a substance that transitions between liquid and gas states to facilitate cooling. It operates in a closed-loop system, which means it shouldn’t run out under normal circumstances. However, leaks can develop because of accidents or wear and tear on the air conditioner’s components. It may also result from the refrigerant and moisture combining into a corrosive substance that damages the system.

When there’s a leak that leads to a loss of refrigerant, your air conditioner will fail to work properly. The clutch may not engage, cold air may not flow, or the air conditioning may fail to turn on. While there are detectors you can use to determine if refrigerant is leaking from your air-conditioning system, it may be a smarter move to take your car to our service department. Our technicians can diagnose the problem correctly and make any necessary repairs safely.

The Air-Conditioning System Is Overcharged

Charging a car’s air conditioner simply means adding refrigerant to ensure its proper functioning. This is usually done after a leak has been discovered and repaired or after major work has been done to the system, often following a collision. Reputable service centers such as ours at Performance Kings Honda have the equipment to determine if charging is necessary and how much refrigerant to add.

Overcharging, or going beyond the recommended level of refrigerant, typically happens when car owners do the charging themselves, usually as a temporary fix to keep the air conditioner working. This can lead to a host of issues, including lukewarm air blowing into the cabin, or even worse, damage to the compressor. It can also result in excess pressure in the system, which can burst hoses and overflow seals, causing major problems. Fixing this requires the expertise of a qualified technician, who’ll remove the excess refrigerant and recharge the system safely and properly.

The Air Filter Is Dirty or Clogged

The air filter in your car’s air-conditioning system is mainly responsible for filtering out debris and pollutants and ensuring proper flow of air in the cabin. Over time, it can accumulate dirt or become clogged, which can lead to several problems with the air conditioning, such as weak airflow and less effective cooling and heating. It may also result in particles entering the cabin and, more seriously, cause the system’s blower motor to malfunction.

If you notice any of these issues, you may be able to fix them by removing and cleaning the cabin air filter or replacing it with a new one. It’s generally recommended to change it every 15,000 to 30,000 miles or according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

There Are Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are a common cause of air-conditioner problems. These can be minor, such as a loose connection that led to a short circuit, or major problems, such as a blown fuse, a faulty relay, or an issue with the compressor. Depending on the issue, you may experience intermittent cooling or a complete loss of air conditioning in your car.

These issues are difficult to figure out on your own, so it’s best to have a professional diagnose and attend to the problem. Otherwise, you risk further damaging your air conditioner, injuring yourself, or starting a fire.

The Condenser Fan Isn’t Working

Many modern vehicles possess two fans. One is for the radiator and is meant to dissipate heat from the engine and prevent it from overheating, while the other serves as a cooling source for the condenser. This part of the air conditioner cools the refrigerant gas, allowing it to convert into a liquid that can flow through the other parts and ensure the overall cooling of your car’s cabin.

If the condenser fan isn’t working, you might notice a burning odor or warmer air blowing into the cabin when you turn on the air conditioning. Because these signs aren’t unique to a broken fan, it’s important to have your car checked by professionals who can make an accurate diagnosis and recommend the best course of action for your malfunctioning air conditioner.

There’s Mold or Mildew in the Evaporator

Located deep within the dashboard is the evaporator, which is also called the coil or core. It’s a radiator that allows refrigerant to flow through it, cooling the air that eventually blows out of the vents. Moisture can build up in this area, making it conducive for mold or mildew growth. This can happen if you don’t use the air conditioner frequently, or if the drain line where the excess condensation escapes becomes clogged or blocked.

The accumulation of mold or mildew can cause several problems with your air-conditioning system, including a musty odor and blocked airflow that makes it harder to cool your car’s cabin effectively. It may even lead to allergies and issues with your respiratory system. If you suspect this is the issue, bring your vehicle to our service center, and let our experienced team take care of it for you.

There are other reasons why your vehicle’s air-conditioning system may be performing poorly. Some of these include a damaged compressor, faulty sensors, and a clogged orifice tube or expansion valve. Identifying the exact cause isn’t easy, and performing repairs on your own may do more harm than good, which is why it’s important to entrust the repair and maintenance of your car to the experts.

At Performance Kings Honda, we have the equipment, skills, and experience to help you fix any issues with your air-conditioning system. We also have a parts department at our dealership in Cincinnati that can help you find the right components for your vehicle. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our technicians.

Posted in Maintenance