When Your Air Conditioner Goes Out

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When Your Air Conditioner Goes Out

melting ice cube

Taking a drive on a hot summer day without air conditioning can be brutal. Sure, you can always roll the windows down, but circulating hot air throughout your car doesn’t bring much comfort. If your drive to work hasn’t been as cool as you’d like it to be, it’s possible that your vehicle air conditioning is starting to fail.

When your Vehicle Air Conditioning Goes Out

Here are a few signs that your A/C is going out:

  • A/C is blowing hot or warm air instead of cold
  • A foul smell when you turn the A/C on
  • Disconnected or damaged drive belt
  • Damages on the refrigerant hoses
  • Oil on some of the AC components (signifies refrigerant loss)
  • Compressor shows signs of failure (paint damage, rust, or off-center drive hub)
  • Drive belt squeals or slips while the A/C controls are on maximum
  • A/C doesn’t seem to stay on steadily for a long time

You’ll see that a majority of these signs are visible only when looking under the hood. If you aren’t a mechanic, you might miss them. That’s why it’s important to have your car in for a tune-up. Most mechanics recommend having your A/C system checked once a year. Look in your owner’s manual to see what is suggested for your vehicle.

One of the most common causes for failure in your car’s A/C is insufficient refrigerant due to a leak. If your A/C system has a coolant leak, you’ll notice your car can’t keep the interior as cool. If your system has a leak, ask your auto shop to perform a pressure diagnostic and leak evaluation. The mechanic will fill it with coolant, pressurize it, and look for leaks. Sometimes, an ultraviolet dye is added to help the mechanic find small leaks. Typically, you’ll pay around $100 or more for an A/C recharge and leak diagnostic.

If your A/C isn’t working properly for reasons other than a coolant leak, it can be expensive to repair. If you think that something is going wrong with your car’s A/C, have it looked at as soon as possible.

Many mechanics recommend running your A/C system regularly, even during the cold winter months. It might not make sense when living in the Midwest to run your A/C in January, but it’s important to turn it on ten minutes per month. Your A/C system contains a light mineral oil in the refrigerant to keep the compressor properly lubricated, and by running your A/C ten minutes each month, the compressor is kept lubricated.

Need an auto body professional? Call Great Plains Auto Body at 402.334.7100. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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