Is there anything more frustrating than a car A/C not blowing cold air during a summer road trip? This isn’t a situation anyone wants to face, especially during the busy summer travel season, and it always seems to happen on the hottest day of the year. While there are many car troubles that can cause this problem, some are more common than others. Here are the top reasons why your car’s air conditioning might have stopped working and how to return to a comfortable interior temperature as quickly as possible.
Leaking or Low Refrigerant
Leaking or low refrigerant is the most common reason you might have an issue with a car A/C not blowing cold air. Fortunately, if the system is low on refrigerant, you can recharge it to regain access to ice cold air within just a few minutes. A leak can occur anywhere in the system and can be tricky to find, but it most commonly happens around the hose connections. Sometimes you can even see what looks like an oily substance at the source of the leak. Leaks can be repaired with a specially formulated sealant.
Blocked or Broken Condenser
The condenser’s job is to re-cool hot refrigerant using the airflow coming through the front of your car. If that condenser gets blocked, then the A/C will stop blowing cold air and will eventually blow hot air. Since the condenser is usually at the front of the car, a quick visual check may reveal the debris causing the blockage. Clearing the debris might require removing the grille, depending on your car. A broken condenser isn’t quite so quick a fix, as it will need to be replaced.
The compressor is what keeps refrigerant circulating through the A/C system. If it fails, then you won’t get cold air. This sometimes happens if the A/C hasn’t been used in a long time, so periodically turning on your A/C briefly, even in cooler weather, can help you avoid this problem when summer comes. While you can replace a broken compressor yourself, this is a more challenging job that is often best left to the pros.
Faulty or Blocked Cooling Fans
If fans aren’t working, then the system won’t cool properly. Eventually, all you’ll feel from your A/C vents is hot air. A visual inspection can tell you if a fan is broken, in which case it will need to be replaced. Smaller cracks might be hard to see, however, so it’s best to have a professional address issues with a cooling fan that’s not working.
No one wants to drive in a sweltering car during the summer, so be sure to take care of any A/C issues promptly so you can ride in comfort all summer long.
Check out all the air conditioning maintenance products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on why your car A/C isn’t blowing cold air, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.