Diagnose Your Car's Air Conditioning Problem

I use to drive a Honda Accord that had more automotive air conditioning trouble than you could imagine. I also am the type of person I can not sit in a hot car and sweat. I also do not care for how loud it is with the windows down. So not having a/c was torture to me, so I became somewhat of an expert at automotive air conditioning troubleshooting. Below are a list of quick tips to help diagnose your car or truck air conditioning issue. With a/c the most widespread causes of malfunctioning automotive a/c are leaks or compressor problems. If the a/c is blowing cool air and not cold air then the problem could be a clogged filter or an issue with the cooling fan.

Blowing Cool Air

If the car's a/c unit is set to cold temp and set to high but blows cool to lukewarm air:

Examine to find if the fan on the condenser is running while the vehicle is on.

Search for virtually any prohibitions like debris, dirt or bugs that may block air from moving through the condenser.

Examine your vehicle's cabin air filter to make sure it isn't blocked with debris.

Examine the stresses in the unit applying a manifold gauge set. You can find the ideal pressure range in your car's owner manual.

Examine the Compressor

While your vehicle's engine is running turn the temperature to the lowest temp and the fans to high. Then watch the piece in the middle of the compressor that moves in and out toward the pulley. If it is moving rapidly then the refrigerant may be low. If the center piece is not moving then the condenser clutch may be malfunctioning. You can check this with a volumeter to check the voltage.

Examine for Leaks

Employing an UV leak detection kit can be the fastest way to find a leak but does cost more.

Adhere to the guidelines on the product packaging before you drop UV dye into the condenser.

Examine in and around every fitting to confirm secureness.

Examine the hose manifolds that are attached to the compressor.

Examine the o-rings that are used to seal the pressure switches, located on the rear of the compressor.

Examine all crimped hose to fitting connections for leaks.


Jason Friedman has 13+ years of safety professional and also in that time managed five figure monthly PPC account and SEO for safety consulting firm. His knowledge comes from real world hands on results.

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