Exploring Automotive Electrical Faults

Common Auto Air Conditioner Problems

There is nothing worse than being in the middle of summer and having your car's air conditioner fail. You can't expect to arrive anywhere looking even halfway decent if it is ninety-plus degrees outside and you have no way to keep cool in the car. In your rush to get the AC fixed, has it ever crossed your mind what could cause your AC to malfunction? Here are some of the common issues with automobile air conditioners.

Mold or Mildew

If your air conditioner still blows air, but the air flow is significantly reduced, you may have mold or mildew somewhere in the system. The most common areas for mold or mildew to accumulate are in the evaporator core. Once the mold or mildew builds up, it restricts air flow through the rest of the system, resulting in weak air output from the vents in the automobile.

Loose Hose or Ventilation Fan Issue

If a hose has come loose or the fan that drives the air flow is damaged or broken, then the air flow into the automobile will be greatly reduced. The air may still flow, even with a broken fan, just from the movement of air through the system when the car is moving.

Compressor Failure

In a car, the compressor is one of the main components of the automobile's air conditioning system. A compressor failure is not always the compressor's fault, however. Sometimes, the compressor is actually fine but fails to engage because of fail safes to protect the compressor. These fail safes include:

  • Low refrigerant detection – the compressor fails to turn on because the refrigerant is too low. A low pressure safety switch keeps the compressor from turning on so that it is not damaged when there is not enough refrigerant to keep it lubricated
  • Blown fuse – the compressor won't turn on because the clutch that engages the compressor is not receiving any current
  • Damaged or faulty wiring – the compressor won't turn on because the wiring is preventing the compressor clutch from engaging
  • Defective clutch – there is sufficient current and voltage, but the magnetic clutch won't work

Damaged or Malfunctioning Temperature Sensor

In modern cars, there is a temperature sensor that lets the system know when the interior of the car has reached the desired temperature. If the temperature sensor is not working, then the air conditioner may not start or may not cool to the appropriate level.

Leaky or Clogged Hoses or Seals

There are a number of hoses or seals that could be partially damaged that can cause poor air conditioner performance. These can cause leaks or clogs that keep the system from functioning properly. Leaks can occur in the following areas:

  • O-Rings
  • Expansion tubes
  • Refrigerant charging hoses

For more information, contact Modern Auto Air or a similar company.