Do You Know What To Do If Your Car’s AC Goes Out?

turning the knob of a car air conditioner

Dealing With AC Issues

Science has shown us that the weather patterns are shifting to the east. But when it comes to summer heat and humidity in Illinois, hot is still hot and air conditioning rules, especially when you’re in a hot car!

It has been a long day at work, you make your way to your car in the parking lot, where it has been baking in the hot sun all day. Turn on the air conditioning and nothing! You say to yourself, or maybe scream it out loud, “Why is my car’s air conditioner not working?!”

There could be any of a number of reasons why your car’s AC isn’t working. However, the six most common reasons are: 

#1: Refrigerant Leaked: Refrigerant can leak anywhere within the air conditioning system, making it difficult to determine the exact area, but typically it is leaking from a hose or hose connection. You can tell this by an oily substance coming from a hose or around the connections. This is often repairable adding an air condition sealant to the system. 

#2: Blocked Condenser: Why is the air conditioning in my car not cold? The condenser re-cools hot refrigerant after it is compressed using the air that flows in as you drive down the road. When the condenser is blocked, typically by road debris, this can’t happen, the refrigerant overheats, and the air conditioning blows hot air. Where the condenser is in the front of the car, check for anything that could be blocking it. This could even be debris sucked up the grill. Remove the debris and this should fix your air conditioning. If not, have a technician inspect the system.

#3: Broken Condenser: If the condenser doesn’t appear to be blocked, it may be broken, usually from road debris that has punctured the unit. This will need to be replaced by a technician. 

#4: Electrical Issues: When it comes to car air conditioning, electrical issues can be difficult to diagnose as a problem. A visual check of the wiring will tell you if any wires are damaged or disconnected. If all looks well, then you’ll need a professional diagnosis. 

#5: Cooling Fans Faulty: When the cooling fans aren’t functioning correctly, the condenser isn’t getting cooled, and in time, the air conditioning will begin blowing only hot air.  Again, do a visual inspection for any problems with the fan, like debris sucked up into it, or if there is a cracked blade. It could be a blown fuse, but this is something you’ll need a professional technician to ascertain. 

#6: Bad Compressor: The compressor is what keeps the air conditioning moving. Without the compressor, the refrigerant can’t circulate throughout the system and cool the air. Compressors will freeze up if they aren’t used for a long period of time, like through the winter. It is a recommendation to turn the air conditioning on for short period during the winter to keep the air compressor moving. 

What should I do if my car’s AC blows out hot air?

Do a visual check yourself and make sure nothing has been sucked up to the grill of your car or under the hood around the condenser.  Remove any foreign stuff and try the air conditioning again. 

If there isn’t anything there, check for any oily substance coming from any hoses or connectors. If you see anything, or if the air conditioning still isn’t cooling after removing any debris, take your car into the shop. Do not try to use the air conditioner until you’ve had it inspected.

Can you repair the air conditioning in a car?

If you’ve tried the suggestions we have made and the air conditioning still isn’t working, that doesn’t mean it is gone for good. An experienced technician will have the training and skills to inspect the system and it is possible what they find can be repaired or replaced by the component, not the entire system. 

The cost for car air conditioning repairs will depend on the make, model, and year of the car and the issue the technician determines to be the problem. You can expect a repair to be as little as $100 and as much as $1000, depending on what parts are needed. The condenser and compressor are the most expensive parts to replace. 

How do you know if your car’s air conditioner needs repair?

Well, if the air conditioning isn’t blowing cold, it needs attention. Other indications that your car air conditioning system needs repairs are when there is a funny sound with car’s AC or any funny smell with car’s AC. These aren’t necessarily indications of something expensive to repair, but they are indications that you should have a technician examine the system.

holding a hand up to a car AC vent

Keep Your Cool 

Okay, so, when should you replace your car’s AC? When air conditioning repairs get to be too expensive!  So, what is expensive in air conditioning replacement?  How much does air conditioning replacement cost?  

Replacing the air conditioning system in your car can cost up to $5,000, depending on the make, model, and year of the car. At this point, you need to ask yourself if the car is worth that expense, or is it time to replace the car?