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Service: (651) 490-6699
3360 Hwy 61 N, St. Paul, MN 55110
Summers are hot, and you might want to stay in doors at all times where it’s cool. If you do go out, there’s nothing better than getting in your car and blasting your air conditioner. If your AC has some problems or breaks altogether, you might not even want to drive anywhere. Here’s what might be wrong with your AC, and how to fix it:
The Air Isn’t Cooling
If your AC system is blowing out hot air, it could be one of these problems:
Your AC’s components rely heavily on refrigerant to cool your car. If you don’t have enough of it, your AC components can’t function. If the refrigerant is leaking, it’s likely because there’s a hole in a connection, the compressor, the condenser, or the hoses, or there’s a ruptured evaporator.
Solution: It’s hard to identify refrigerant leaks. That’s because refrigerant evaporates when it’s exposed to the environment. A mechanic has to add a fluorescent leak tracer dye and refrigerant to the system. They’ll run the AC and identify the leak with a blacklight. Once they know where it’s coming from, they can fix it.
Climate Control Electrical Issue
The controls you use to adjust the temperature in your car tell your AC/heater control module to pass instructions to the heating and cooling system. The components that support the controls can break down or fail. If that happens, your AC might not work as well, or could stop working altogether.
Solution: A mechanic has to evaluate the components to diagnose the problem. Then, they have to repair or replace any faulty parts. You can help by telling and showing exactly what happens when you try to use the controls. Then, they might have a general idea of what the problem is.
The compressor is a very important part of your AC system. It moves refrigerant through the system. Then, it compresses low-pressure refrigerant gas into high-press refrigerant gas before passing it to the AC condenser. If the compressor breaks down, refrigerant can’t move through the system, and the air that blows through your vents won’t be cooled.
Solution: If your compressor is broken, it’s usually because of low refrigerant or a loss of power to the compressor. It likely has to be replaced by a mechanic. They also might have to replace the AC accumulator or receiver dryer, or the drive belt if it shows any signs of wear. If the compressor failed internally, metal shavings might have been distributed throughout the AC system. If that has happen, the mechanic has to flush out the system and replace any other damaged parts.
There’s No Airflow From the Vents
Your car uses cooling fans to move refrigerated air into your cabin. When there’s a problem with the fans, you won’t feel an air coming from the vents. There could be a blown fuse or bad relay, damage to the blower motor or blower resistor, damaged belts and hoses, or blocked air intake.
Solution: A mechanic has to replace the fuses and/or the relay first. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll have to visit an expert AC technician so they can test other components related to the system. Then, they’ll figure out what’s wrong, and make any necessary repairs or replace broken parts.
The AC Makes Noise When It’s On
AC systems are generally quiet. So, if it makes noise when it’s on, there’s a problem. There could be leaves or other debris blocking the unit. Or, a major component might be failing. If you hear grinding or squealing, a bearing might be worn out. If you hear rattling, the compressor’s clutch might have failed. If you keep using your AC when it’s making weird noises, it can make things worse.
Solution: A mechanic has to inspect the AC system to figure out if there’s debris blocking the unit, or if any major components need to be replaced.
The AC Smells Like Mildew
If your AC smells like mildew when you turn it on, there’s a growth of bacteria in the system. There may be a dirty or clogged air filter, a clogged drip pan, a clogged condensate drain line, moist ductwork, or other internal problems.
Solution: You might need to replace your air filter or check your drip pan for visible clogs. If that doesn’t help, an AC technician will have to figure out what needs to be fixed so the smell doesn’t keep coming back.
The AC Goes From Cold to Hot
If the AC suddenly goes from cold to hot, there’s a problem. The expansion valve that dispenses the right amount of refrigerant to the evaporator might have failed. If the expansion valve is blocked, the refrigerant can’t reach the evaporator. If that happens, and moisture is present, the valve will freeze.
Solution: An AC technician has to test the system’s pressure and inspect its components. Then, they’ll know if there are any blockages or malfunctions, and they’ll fix them.
There’s Water on the Floorboards
Bacteria builds up on your AC’s evaporator coil in the AC heater box, which is located under your dashboard. The bacteria mixes with the condensation from the coils, and that creates a slimy film on the AC fins, which produces a moldy smell. The film can build up and clog the drain line, which removes excess moisture. When it’s clogged, water from the condensation fills up the heater box and drips onto the floor of your car, usually on the passenger side.
Solution: A mechanic will have to figure out why the drain line has clogged. Then, they’ll make any necessary repairs or replace anything broken.
Car Maintenance In St. Paul, MN
If you’re having issues with your car’s AC, come visit Buerkle Honda in St. Paul, MN! The staff at our auto body shop will figure out exactly the problem is and fix it for you. They can work on all makes and models, not just Hondas. If you’re in the market for a new car, we have a huge selection of vehicles in all sizes and trim levels. When you purchase or lease any vehicle from a Buerkle dealership, you’ll earn valuable rewards through our Buerkle Rewards+ program. Our dealership is right by Minneapolis, Inver Grove, and Blaine!
Buerkle Honda Service Department
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