Why is the AC in My Car Not Blowing Cold?

You get in your car in the middle of the summer, turn it on and leave your house. The air conditioning has been on for a few minutes, but it is still not blowing cold. You roll your windows down, but by the time you get to your destination, you are covered in sweat. Dealing with this every time you drive during the summer gets old quickly. But why is your AC suddenly not blowing cold? Automotive air conditioning systems are complex and have many components that can fail. We are going to go over the most common causes of an automotive air conditioning failure.

Why is my AC not working in my car?

auto air conditioning system graphic

The air conditioning in your car is a closed system and must remain sealed to function properly. A breach in the system or failure of a component will reduce the effectiveness of the air conditioning, resulting in warm air coming through the vents. Below are the four most common causes of poorly functioning vehicle air conditioning.

   1. Leaking or low AC refrigerant

Over time the closed and pressurized AC system in your vehicle may start to leak. With less refrigerant, the system’s ability to cool the air entering the cabin decreases. In theory, without a leak, the refrigerant level in the air conditioning system would not change. If you notice warm or hot air coming through the vents in your car, recharging the AC can help it blow cold again. Many repair shops can recharge your AC system. It can be tempting to buy a recharge kit from a local auto parts store, but without the proper training or tools attempting to recharge your AC yourself can cause further damage to the system. 

   2. Bad air conditioning compressor

a/c compressor in car

The AC compressor pressurizes the refrigerant into a gas. Your air conditioning system is powered by the compressor. If the compressor fails, the refrigerant will be unable to cycle through the system, meaning the air entering the cabin will not be cold. A sudden change in air temperature coming through the vents could indicate a failed or failing AC compressor. 

3. Blocked or broken condenser

The A/C condenser allows the gas created by the compressor to change forms into a high-pressure liquid. Additionally, it helps remove heat from the refrigerant before it heads through the compressor again. The condenser is located at the front of the car, meaning it can become damaged or blocked by debris while driving. In addition to causing warm air to come through the vents, a damaged AC condenser can cause overheating, emitting a burning smell when the AC is on. 

   4. Broken air conditioning fans

air conditioning fan

The air conditioning fans assist the condenser in changing the state of the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid. If the fans are not working, the refrigerant will not be as efficient at cooling the air coming into the cabin. It is relatively easy to check the AC fans on most cars. Pop the hood when the vehicle is running and look at the front of the car, near the radiator. If the fans are not moving while the AC is on and the air coming through the vents is warm, they may be broken. 

What should I do when my car AC is blowing warm air?

The best thing to do if you notice your ac is not working like it should is to bring your car to a qualified shop. The complexity of most vehicle air conditioning systems makes it difficult for the average person to figure out what is exactly wrong. Take note of when you noticed the issue start, any odd smells or noises, and any recent accidents or other factors that could potentially impact your air conditioning. When you bring your car in, pass on this information to your service advisor. 

Get your car’s AC repaired

If you are having issues with your air conditioning, call or schedule an appointment at Becker Service Center! The team of skilled ASE-certified technicians at our Naperville repair shop will get to the bottom of your air conditioning issue quickly, keeping you cool this summer. 

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