Diagnosing a Broken AC System

When the intense California sun becomes too much to bear, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Downey residents can flee to the refuge of their vehicles and crank their AC system. Unfortunately, some people don’t always have this luxury since AC systems can break down from time to time.

To help keep you cool during your cruise, here are some tips for determining what could be wrong with your cars air conditioner.

Obstructed Air Flow

If turning on the AC gives you next-to-no airflow, you could have one of several problems. First, check to see if the blower motor is activating by having someone turn on the AC while you look under the hood. If nothing happens at all when they flip the switch, you could have an electrical short or a faulty blower motor. Try replacing the fuse or leaving your vehicle running with the AC off before trying to turn the AC on again.

If your blower motor seems to be coming on fine but it still feels like next to nothing is coming out of the vents, your problem lies further down the line. You may have something lodged in your air vents or the actuator doors that control air flow have gotten stuck. Even more likely, your air filter could be dirty and clogged. Check your air filter and clean it off before fiddling around with opening or closing various vents to see if circulation improves.

Only Hot Air Comes Out

When your air vents only seem to push out hot air, there may be many different causes. Quickly rule out your radiator by seeing if your vehicle is overheating in general, then move on to other possibilities, such as low coolant or a broken compressor. You can evaluate the condition of the compressor by having someone activate the AC while you look under the hood. The compressor is often barrel-shaped with an attached belt drive.

If the compressor clutch in the center engages then quickly disengages, you may have low coolant. Since coolant doesn’t run out in a typical AC system, low levels indicate that you have a leak somewhere in your lines. You can use a UV light to try and spot fluid leaks along your coolant lines to identify the source of the problem.

AC Only Works Sometimes

ACs that seem to be working fine some days but having trouble on others usually indicates a faulty part or an electrical short. Try replacing the AC fuse and take note if other systems seem to go haywire when your AC stops running, such as the radio or dash clock.

Other times, an inconsistent AC unit may have a physical issue preventing it from working properly every time. Vehicles that have been in wrecks will have condenser units that may not always dissipate heat or generate the pressure needed to liquefy refrigerant. You may also have a faulty belt running your compressor or a blower motor on its last legs.

The only way to be certain about the issue you’re facing and have it dealt with quickly is to visit a certified mechanic like the ones found at Norm Reeves Honda Superstore Cerritos. Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Downey residents should make an appointment as soon as they can to get their AC running again and prevent suffering in their own personal pressure cooker while tangling with LA traffic.

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