How comfortable are you while driving your car during the summer?
Imagine getting into your car during summer and turning on your AC, hoping to keep a consistent cool atmosphere. However, suddenly, the AC is not providing cool air, and you are getting warm air instead. What could be the problem?
Keep reading to learn what might be preventing the car AC from doing its job and how you can get back on track. We’ll also discuss some techniques that could help make your ride more comfortable despite having a faulty cooling system.
Understanding your vehicle’s AC system
1. What are the components inside?
Due to the importance of an AC system in a car, it sounds like a complex yet interesting system. Understanding it could help you diagnose and possibly even aid in fixing it if need be.
For almost all cars, an AC system consists of the same three parts: Condenser, Compressor, and evaporator, all of which work in harmony to keep you either hot or cool.
2. How does it work?
For a flow of cool air when you turn on your AC, the compressor starts by pressurizing the refrigerant that is in the form of gas. The condenser then takes the compressed form of the gas through a combination of finned tubes and turns it into liquid form. To prevent the formation of ice crystals in the AC system, the liquid is passed through a dryer to eliminate excess water. At this point, the liquid refrigerant is passed to the evaporator by going through a thermal expansion valve where it comes into contact with heat from the cabin. Because of this contact with heat, it turns into a gas state once again. The evaporator coil chills by absorbing heat from its surrounding.
After this process, we’ll get the cool air through the AC vents.
Top reasons why your car AC is not cold enough
There are seven most common reasons that make your car AC not cold enough
1. Low charge
A low charge is one of the most common reasons why your AC may not be providing cool air. It simply means there is a low charge in the AC. To solve this issue, charge your car’s air conditioner. You can seek the services of a trained mechanic to do this for you if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.
2. Freon leak
Freon is the refrigerant responsible for cooling the air in your car. A Freon leak is difficult to detect and often requires specialized tools from a trained mechanic.
Causes of a Freon leak:
- A damaged hose.
- A loose connection in the AC system.
- A loose gasket.
Notable signs of a Freon leak:
- A regular cycle of the AC turning on and off
- A click sound when the AC is on.
- Noticeable oil residue around AC pipe fittings and hoses.
- Hissing sounds coming from the AC when the car is off.
Fixing this leak requires repairing/replacing the parts responsible for the leak. It could also mean that you need to replace the refrigerant depending on the leaked amount.
3. Stuck blend air door
A blend air door is what allows cool air from the AC to reach you. When you switch on your AC, the blend air door acts as a ‘door’ to prevent warm air from getting into your ventilation. This then allows the cool air in the AC system to circulate through the vents.
This blend air door can sometimes get stuck, and so you will continue getting warm air. Solving this does not require you to buy anything. You simply need to know its location, and you can fix it yourself.
4. AC Compressor failure
An AC compressor is one of the three parts of the AC system. Its failure in any way will affect how an AC works. The work of the compressor is to pressurize Freon. And if the compressor isn’t working, it won’t compress the refrigerant; thus, it won’t cool air.
This failure can be as a result of:
- An electrical malfunction
- Overheated engine
- Low Freon levels
5. Problems with AC condenser
Another part of the AC system is the condenser. A condenser’s job is to turn the refrigerant (Freon) back to liquid form after it leaves the compressor. So, when the condenser is not working, you won’t get cold air from your AC.
The AC condenser can fail to work because it is:
- Blocked. This happens after the condenser accumulates dust/dirt over time, leading to its blockage.
- Damaged. In this case, the debris, either dust or dirt, can lead to damage rather than a blockage.
- Condenser Fan failure. This can be caused by electrical issues around the AC system, a blown fuse, or debris.
All three are easy to inspect. For the case of damage or blockage, check the front of the condenser for any signs of dirt/dust. It is advisable to seek the help of a professional if you are not conversant with the fan motors or the condenser.
6. Motor fan damage
This is a common problem. A vehicle can have either one or two fans located at the front of the motor. For this reason, there are susceptible to contact with road debris which can cause them to malfunction. If the fan is not working properly, it will not provide that cool air in your vehicle and around the engine.
7. Cabin filter damage
The cabin filter plays a pivotal role in the AC system. Also, it helps in the quality of cool air you get. It works by separating dust particles looking to get into the car systems through the front. If the cabin filter is damaged, it will not perform its functions. Thus, dust particles may go on to cause damage to the motor fans or air condenser. By this happening, your AC will not provide cool air.
Fixing this is easy. You can do this by yourself. Simply open a dashboard holder, check the cabin filter for dirt. If dirty, replace it with a new genuine one.
Piece of Advice
A car by itself is made up of many complex systems. Without sufficient knowledge, you may be unable to diagnose your car’s problems by yourself. It is advisable that you have a good ELM327 OBD2 scan tool to help with the diagnosis. This tool will give you error messages surrounding your AC, and you will be able to pinpoint its exact problems.
How to make your car AC colder
There are other methods you can use to keep your car cool. Some of these methods can be used to make your AC more effective for your drive. They are:
Here’re 5 simple tips that everybody can follow to make the car AC colder
1. Turn off the A/C vents at the passenger side
Just to be fair, do this while driving alone. Shut, or close off the AC vents on the passenger side of your vehicle. By doing this, more cool air will be directed at the vents on the driver’s side.
2. Get your A/C to release cold air as quickly as possible
You should do this if the inside of your car is hot and you want cool air fast. Start your engine, make sure your windows are lowered. Set the speed of the blower to maximum, then start the AC. Turn the knob to re-circulate mode.
3. Park under a shade
It’s summer, it’s hot, so it is advisable to park under a shade, especially if you leave your car for a while. Getting into a hot car on a hot day is so uncomfortable! Plus, parking under the direct sun is not good for your paint.
4. Drop down the windows
Only do this if you feel your car is safe. You don’t want to give anyone easy access to things in your car or your car! Open the windows just a bit to ensure that cool air circulates inside. This way, your car won’t be so hot when you get back.
5. Ventilate the car
If you were not able to park under a shade and you couldn’t bring yourself to leave your car windows open, ventilate the car as soon as you get in. Open all windows to a good enough level and let cool air circulate, especially around the cabin. You can then comfortably drive your car.
It can be frustrating to not feel cool air coming from the vents when you need it most. When this happens, take a look at what might be preventing your AC system from functioning properly. Check to see if any quick fixes will help get things back on track. It would be better if you had a scan tool to help you in your diagnosis. But, if all else fails, contact a trusted professional so they can diagnose the issue proactively and make sure you're comfortable in your car.