Top Reasons Your Car AC Isn’t Working

car air conditioner deck

You probably don’t put much thought into your car air conditioner until it stops working on a 100-plus degree day. More than just an annoyance, a broken air conditioner can be dangerous if you’re stuck in traffic while the temperature soars inside your car. If your AC isn’t working as well as it should, there are a number of reasons that may be the cause.   

1. Low Refrigerant Level

Leaking coolant is one of the most common AC issues. Because refrigerant circulates throughout the system, a leak may be at any point along the way. Leaks often occur where hoses connect, so these connections will be closely inspected and may be able to be repaired with a sealant. If our BRAKEmax car AC repair technician locates a leak that can be repaired, we’ll use a sealant designed specifically for use in car AC units and will evacuate and recharge the system.

A refrigerant leak may indicate problems with the evaporator or compressor, in addition to hoses, so other parts of the system should be checked as well.

Note that if you check your refrigerant level yourself and find that it’s low, you may be tempted to simply add more, but there are good reasons not to do this: There’s a leak somewhere in the system, leaking refrigerants aren’t good for the environment, and topping off your refrigerant will be a short-lived solution to a problem that needs to be fixed. If your level is low or if you notice a green, oily slick under your car, book an appointment with our car AC repair experts.

2. Broken AC Condenser

The condenser is where the refrigerant that’s been compressed by the compressor into high-pressure vapor is converted into a high-pressure liquid. Working much the same as your radiator (and working in concert with radiator fans), the condenser allows the liquified refrigerant to flow into the evaporator and absorb heat. When the condenser goes bad, the causes can range from refrigerant leaks to contaminants blocking the flow of refrigerant. 

3. Bad AC Compressor

Even people who aren’t familiar with how air conditioning systems work have likely heard of compressors and know they’re somehow important. They definitely are—a compressor is the component that circulates the refrigerant and compresses it into the high-pressure gas that goes into the AC condenser. When those operations don’t go as they should, air can’t get cooled.

The technicians at your local BRAKEmax shop can do a complete compressor check as part of our comprehensive AC system check.

4. Electrical Issues

Computers are everywhere in today’s vehicles, including AC systems. Just as with any electrical component, the AC/heater control module in your car or truck can fail for a number of reasons.

Repairing these components is not a DIY project, so it’s best to have a car AC repair expert assess the problem. At BRAKEmax, our trained technicians have the tools and experience to diagnose climate control electrical issues. 

5. AC Evaporator Issues

The evaporator or evaporator core in your air conditioning system acts like a small radiator. Located deep in the dashboard—which can make repairing it a labor-intensive and not inexpensive task—it’s the evaporator that delivers cold air to the passenger compartment. A leak is the most common cause of an evaporator failure. Debris such as leaves can be drawn into the evaporator by exterior air intake vents, which can cause corrosion, or a weld or seam may fail. When evaporators quit working properly, they will need to be replaced. 

car ac knob

6. A Broken Blower

Vehicles with electronic displays may giveyou an alert when there’s a problem with your blower motor. This is the part that moves air through your car or truck’s vent. Our AC technicians can determine if you have a simple problem with a relay or fuse or if your blower motor should be replaced.

7. Cooling Fan Problems

Cooling fans can have several types of issues, including blown fuses or even cracks caused by road debris. Since electrical problems may also be involved, it’s best to have a car AC professional repair cooling fan breakdowns. 

Come to BRAKEmax Tire & Service Centers for all of your car AC needs.

When your vehicle’s air conditioning system blows warm air or doesn’t blow at all, repairs can’t wait! The AC experts at BRAKEmax provide comprehensive car AC maintenance and repair services, including:

  • Complete AC system evacuation and AC recharge
  • Condenser cleaning
  • Leak checks
  • Hose and belt connection checks
  • Performance test
  • Compressor check

Whether you need a leak sealed or a complete AC system inspection, the factory-trained, ASE-certified technicians at every BRAKEmax location are ready to help.

Signs that your car’s AC may need service.

The most obvious sign of air conditioning woes is a lack of cold air, of course, but there are other clues that point to problems, such as:

  • Unusual odors: An air conditioner that smells musty may indicate that your cabin air filter has gotten dirty or collected pollutants or even stagnant water. You may also have a problem with mold in your air vents, or have bacteria growth, which can cause mildew odors. If you notice odors, bring your vehicle in soon for a check, since asthma or other respiratory issues can be aggravated by mold, mildew, or bacteria. You may also notice a sweet smell from your cooling system—this may be an indicator of an antifreeze leak in a hose or pipe, or your radiator. Antifreeze is toxic, so you don’t want to put off AC service if this is the problem.
  • Odd sounds: The only sound you should hear when running your air conditioner is the sound of air flowing through the vents. If you hear strange sounds, the cause could be a worn-out clutch in the compressor that’s rattling or a worn-out pulley bearing in the compressor, which can grind or squeak. You may also have a failed compressor, which would need to be replaced. 
  • Water inside your car: A properly functioning air conditioning system will drain water away from the vehicle. If you notice water pooling inside your car when your air conditioner is on, there could be any of several issues. One of the most common is a block in the drain that normally moves water away, which can result in a backup that encourages the growth of mildew or mold. If you see water under your dashboard or floor mats, come into BRAKEmax for a check of your system and a diagnosis of the problem. 

Ways to save on car AC repairs.

There’s never a good time for your car air conditioning system to fail, but when it does, BRAKEmax offers coupons and specials that can help you get the repairs you need. We have new deals all the time, from savings on AC system inspections and cooling system flushes, to discounts on any service over a certain amount. Check our coupons page and Air Conditioning Services page frequently for the latest ways to save.

Stay cool with preventative maintenance.

You can help ensure that your car AC won’t suddenly let you down in the middle of summer’s worst heat with regular AC maintenance service. No matter what type of car or truck you have, vehicle air conditioners lose efficiency over time if they’re not properly maintained. BRAKEmax offers a full range of preventative maintenance services that can help keep you cool and on the road. Book an appointment at your nearest BRAKEmax location today.

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