How to Diagnose Your Car's Air Conditioning System
With summer approaching quickly, you don’t want to spend your time driving around in the sweltering heat without any AC. Driving around inside of a hot car can affect your safety and comfort. Learn how to diagnose your car’s air conditioning system, so you know when it needs to be serviced.
Turn the AC On
First, you’ll need to see if any cold air blows out of your vents. Start your car and press the button to turn on your AC and set it to the highest setting. To avoid breathing in old air, set the system to “fresh air.” If it is set to recirculate air, you may not get a proper diagnosis. Don’t forget to check how much cold air is coming from each vent. You may need to change their positions to do so.
Check for Warm Air
Your car’s AC should not be blowing warm or hot air; if it is, you should double check your settings. Make sure the fans are set to high and the AC is set to "max." Many people often forget to switch their settings after driving around during the long cold winter and cool spring season. If your AC gives off warm air, you could have an issue with the condenser or low refrigerant levels.
To determine if the problem is the condenser, you should check the outside and underneath your vehicle for leaks. Small leaks can quickly turn into large leaks resulting in a loss of refrigerant (Freon) fluid and pressure. When the condenser does not have enough fluid or pressure, it cannot function properly.
Sniff Check for Odors
Some people notice an odd, sour and mildew-ish smells when they turn on their air conditioning after a long time. It is not unusual to notice strange smells when you first turn it on. But, if those smells linger longer than a few moments, then it may be time for you to change your car’s cabin filter. It could also indicate your air conditioning system has some leaks. Leaks can result in low pressure and little to no cold air as well.
Check for Noises
Your car’s AC should not make any noises when it is on. If you happen to hear high-pitched squealing sounds, then there’s a good chance there is a belt issue. If you notice rattling noises when running your AC, then there’s a strong possibility that the system is overcharged. Overcharged means there is too much Freon or refrigerant in the system and that it is leaking into the condenser.
It is important to have your car’s AC system inspected and serviced regularly to keep it in good shape. To keep your vehicle’s AC from failing when you need it most, stop by Auto Tek. We can diagnose and repair your vehicle’s AC and any other car repair issues you may be experiencing.