A close up on a car's air conditioner vents

Common Air Conditioner Issues


The weather is starting to warm up here in Pennsylvania and that means most drivers are going to start using their air conditioners. What do you do when your turn on your A/C to find hot air blowing out? Or maybe you hear weird grinding or squealing sounds? Your car’s air conditioner has a lot of parts and that means a lot of those parts can break down. Below is a list of some common A/C problems and the things most likely causing those problems.

The air coming out is cool (but not cold) or it’s hot.

When the air coming out of your air conditioner isn’t getting cold, it probably has to do with the state of your condenser. The condenser is the part of your air conditioning unit that cools refrigerant (an important fluid). Condensers can get blocked or damaged by road debris. You can check your grill and cabin filter for clogs. If the air conditioner does not improve once clogs are removed, bring your car to Restored Auto, LLC for service. Broken condensers typically need to be replaced.

There is no cold air coming out.

While there are a few reasons this can happen, the most common culprit is often a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant flows throughout the entire air conditioning system and travels through lots of different holes. Because refrigerant is designed to evaporate, it can be hard to spot leaks when they occur. You may notice an oily substance around hose connections, or you may need to take your car in for service. Technicians can add special dyes to the refrigerant to help spot the leaks under black lights. Once the leak is found, the hose can either be repaired or replaced.

There is no air coming out at all.

Like the previous problem, lots of things can cause your vehicle’s air conditioner to stop putting out air. Some of the reasons behind this include:

  • Broken fans—The A/C unit’s fans help to move air through the system and into the cabin. If a fan doesn’t move well or stops moving, it will slow or stop the air conditioning process. You will need to have the fan repaired or replaced when this happens. 
  • Blown fuses—Fuses and relays send power to the A/C’s blower motor. This motor then pushes the air through the vents. When the fuse blows, the power goes with it.
  • Blocked air intakes—Your vehicle has two spots for air to flow in and out of it. One spot is by the bottom of the windshield and the other is inside the cabin. Both areas have filters that can be clogged, and both areas can be susceptible to debris. Unclogging these areas will likely fix this problem.
  • Damaged belts and hoses—There are lots of belts and lots of hoses in your car’s A/C unit. If even one of them becomes detached, forms a leak, or is blocked up by debris, this can cause the air to stop moving through the system.
  • Damaged blower motor or blower resistor—Like we mentioned before, the blower motor helps push air through your car’s vents. The blower resistor works together with the motor to determine how much air is pushed out. Both of these parts can wear out over time. If either your blower motor or blower resistor is broken, bring your car by Restored Auto, LLC to have it fixed.

The air coming out smells moldy.

This problem is most common in air conditioners that are older, are not used very often, or are often used at the maximum setting. Bacteria can grow inside the unit because of excess moisture produced by the air conditioner. You may need to replace your vehicle’s cabin air filter. You may also need to have a technician run an anti-bacterial solution through your evaporator so the mold will die off.

The air conditioner is making weird noises.

Generally speaking, any time your car makes an unusual noise, it’s probably a sign of trouble. Air conditioners are typically pretty quiet in vehicles. If there is a rattling or banging sound, it may indicate the presence of debris or leaves in the unit. It can also indicate a failed compressor clutch. If there is a grinding or squealing sound, it may mean a bearing has worn out. No matter the sound, it’s best to avoid using your air conditioner until you can get it looked at by a professional.

There is water on the floor of the car.

Because of all of the hoses and connections, it’s not uncommon for air conditioners to leak. If the leaking is in the cabin of your car (usually on the passenger side), it may mean your drain line has clogged. You will need to have a professional examine your car’s drain line to determine whether the drain line needs to be repaired or replaced. Bring it by Restored Auto, LLC and we’ll be happy to take a look for you!

The air conditioner is not working.

If the A/C unit stops working and there are no obvious leaks, clogs, or weird sounds, it’s probably a sign that the compressor has failed. The compressor is an important component in your A/C unit, and it’s driven by the engine. Sometimes it can fail when your A/C hasn’t been turned on for a while. To help prevent this, run the A/C during the winter every few weeks. If your compressor has failed, it will need to be replaced.

Call Restored Auto, LLC for help.

Don’t let the heat beat you this summer. If your car’s air conditioner is having a problem, stop by Restored Auto, LLC for help. We’ll figure out what needs to be done to keep you cool while you drive.