My Car’s A/C Is Not Cold. What Could be Wrong?

Auto AC System Diagram
AC System Operational Diagram

The AC System Needs Recharging. There Is A Freon Leak.

The most common cause of an air conditioner not getting cold enough is that it is low on Freon and needs to be recharged. There could be only one reason why the system need recharging, there is a Freon leak in the AC System. Automotive AC systems are under pressure and sealed. They are filled with a product called Freon and each vehicle model has a specification of how much Freon is contained within it. Generally, Freon is measured in ounces or grams and the only way to know how much freon is currently in the system is to remove it with a specialty machine and refill the system to the proper amount. A system leak may not be a cause for concern because older systems generally leak freon out over time. Some leakage over a period of years is acceptable but not over a period of months or days. If your system is leaking out over months or days there is a more serious problem that needs to be corrected. Components in the AC system are made of Rubber and gaskets that fail over time and it is common to replace these worn parts to get your system operating properly again.

AC Reacharge

Freon is the chemical that cools the air and there are several types. The automotive industry has moved from R12 to R134 to now to R1234yf. These changes have been brought about by environmental concerns over the previous generation products. Todays Freon’s are better for the environment.

You can recharge your refrigerant by yourself, but if you’re not comfortable doing it, one of our ASE Certified mechanics are standing by and should be able to get your cold air flowing again pretty quickly.

The A/C Compressor May Not Engage

auto ac compressor

auto ac compressor

This problem can occur due to a variety of conditions. Failure can occur when there’s an electrical fault in your compressor’s circuit or clutch, Freon can be low or the vehicle can be overheating. Today’s cars are computer controlled and one of the first systems that is turned off when the computer senses an engine problem is the A/C system. Usually, the malfunctioning part has to be replaced by a qualified mechanic.

The “Blend Air Door” is Stuck

There’s a small hatch inside your car’s ventilation system called the “blend air door”. When you turn your environmental system from heat to cold, the door should change position to drawing in cold air. If it doesn’t change, it will still be drawing heat from the engine, blowing it on you! There can be mechanical problems with this Blend Door or the motor designed to operate it. Either way, the malfunction will need to be corrected to get the system operating properly again. This job can be easy or difficult depending on ones mechanical ability and tool availability. It is likely for a qualified mechanic.

You Can Feel Cold Air, But It’s Not Blowing

This could mean the A/C’s fan has stopped working or there could be air flow restrictions within the dash of your vehicle (see: “My car’s air conditioning isn’t working. This could be the problem.“). It may be as simple as changing a wire, you may need a new fan unit or possibly a new evaporator core. Again, this isn’t something the people change themselves, especially since it may require taking apart your car’s dashboard to reach all of the components. The image below shows a “worst case scenario” where we had to pull the evaporator box out of a pickup to replace an evaporator core. The removed evaporator core will clearly not pass air through properly.

Evaporator Box within Dash
Evaporator Box From Within Dash Removed

Old and New Evaporator Cores
Old and New Evaporator Cores

Other Issues

Your A/C system is complicated, and while there are some easy fixes like adding Freon, there are also more difficult issues that only a trained and certified mechanic can fix. In a few cases, the problem is indicative of more severe issues, but usually repairing the A/C is a fairly simple job, even when a mechanic has to handle it.

Call Elite Auto Repair today and setup a FREE diagnostic appointment. We’ll track down your issue and the most affordable solution possible!

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