Shop Talk Logo

The Most Common Problems with Your Air Conditioning

Car A/C controlsWith temperatures averaging in the 100’s, having ice-cold air conditioning in Arizona is essential. Sometimes, though, your air conditioning may start blowing warm air, making strange noises, or simply stop altogether. Suddenly, you’re hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable and you may be wondering, “what’s wrong with my car’s air conditioner?” Find out how what the most common problems with air conditioning can be and how to identify them.

Most often AC troubles are related to a leak somewhere in the system. Air conditioning systems are sealed units and one would assume that because of its airtight structure, a leak couldn’t occur. However, most often leaks are related to the breakdown of rubber products. Year after year, rubber endures the elements of each season. Conditions related to harsh winters and summers after time cause rubber parts to become dry and brittle, losing their pliability. Such products include:

  • Rubber seals found within the compressor.
  • The O-ring (a rubber gasket in the form of a ring, made of a flexible material that seals the tubes within the air conditioning system).
  • Air Conditioning Lines. While some portions of the air conditioning lines are made of aluminum, sections of the lines are made of rubber, giving the lines flexibility to move with the vehicle as it maneuvers the road.
  • Service ports. Similar to the look of a tire’s valve stem, these ports are located where the gauges are positioned to add refrigerant. Although these ports are covered with a cap for protection, they are rubber seals that are vulnerable to hot/cold environments and can leak without ever having been touched.

Other components that are responsible for leaks include the major components of the AC system such as the condenser. The condenser’s job is similar to the vehicle’s radiator, in that its job is to convert refrigerant gas into a liquid. Constant vibrations and heat from the vehicle’s engine can eventually lead to a leak. The evaporator is another element that can be the source of a leak. Located within the dashboard next to the heater core, the evaporator made of aluminum also functions like a radiator. Aluminum allows heat to dissipate more successfully than other metals. However, vibrations are also what commonly cause evaporator leaks.

Another common problem within the air conditioning system is the wear on other components within the system. These parts include:

  • Compressor—Compresses refrigerant for cooling the vehicle’s interior. When dust, grime, and mineral scales build up on the condenser, the air conditioner struggles to force out heat from the system. The increased pressure and temperature cause the compressor to overheat and fail.
  • Compressor Clutch- Works cyclically and engages often to maintain a set temperature. Constant cycling creates heat, which eventually leads to failure from wear.
  • Actuator-Controls the position of the vents to control the air flow into the vehicle’s cabin. Comprised of small, electric motors that move the vent doors, they combine a mix of hot and cold air to achieve the desired temperature. After time, these little motors wear out due to constant engagement.
  • Blower Motor & Resistor – The blower motor’s job is to push air through the vents while the resistor regulates the electricity to the blower motor. The resistor often goes out because the blower motor draws too many amps. Usually, these mechanisms are replaced at the same time.
  • Buttons/Control Heads –Send commands to each module. After constant pushing, bumping, or touching, any button or switch, as part of the air conditioning system, can eventually wear out.

Experiencing air conditioning troubles can be aggravating, especially during the midst of a brutal summer. While there’s no way to predict when leaks or other components can malfunction, often because they occur due to usage, you can get ahead of any air conditioning troubles with frequent care and maintenance. Ensuring your air filters and condenser are clean and clear of debris, reducing cabin temperature with sunscreens or shades, and performing an annual air conditioning inspection can help keep your air conditioning in peak condition.

Sun Devil Auto offers a Free Air Conditioning Performance Inspection guaranteed in thirty minutes or less. Our expert technicians will inspect system belts and hoses, electronically test for leaks or contamination, inspect all components for proper operation, and check for duct temperature efficiency. We understand that your time is valuable, which is why we offer this service with no appointment is necessary! If your vehicle is in need of a recharge or repair of the system, we can do that, too! Our goal is to get you back on the road feeling nice and cool as quickly as possible.