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Low Airflow Air Conditioning: The Low Flow Down Low

Low Airflow Down Low

With all of today’s modern automotive conveniences, good heat and AC are still at the top of everyone’s lists. A car may have Bluetooth connectivity, GPS and other fancy functions but if it has low airflow air conditioning, we’re lost. As your car ages you may notice that it seems like the AC doesn’t blow as hard — the temperature still seems cold but the air just doesn’t blow like it used to. Here are a few things that could be blocking up your vents and causing a low airflow air conditioning problem.

Start From the Top

Car air vent

It may seem a bit silly but you have to start somewhere so you should always start your search at the end of the line. Make sure the vent controls on the dashboard are open and the vent is pointing outward. Depending on the style your vehicle uses, the vent control can also get hung up so sometimes closing and reopening them with the thumb wheel is all that’s needed.

Go With the Flow

Nine times out of 10, weak airflow is caused by a clogged up cabin air filter. Over time, this filter catches all dirt and debris, which can build up and slow or stop the flow of air. It’s typically located under the dash on the passenger side or inside the glove box and should be cleaned or replaced regularly.

Find the Fan

This one is a bit of a long shot but it could be the fan has become clogged up with debris. You’d be shocked how much junk can find its way into the duct system of a car. Everything from leaves to rodent nests seem to find their way down in to the fan area. Make sure it is clean with nothing to impede the flow of air.

Flip Flap

All vehicles give you the option to have your AC come out up top or on our feet using a series of blend doors that direct the air to the proper set of vents. Small motors on most modern cars control these doors but in some cases can also be moved using cables. Either way, if the cable or motor isn’t working properly, it won’t completely open and close the blend doors and cause an air leak and lower airflow.


The final issue that could be causing low airflow air conditioning could be related to the intake where air enters the system. There are two intakes, one for fresh air located at the base of the windshield and one for re-circulated air that can be found in the passenger side footwell. If either of these intakes is obstructed it can severely hamper the flow of air.

Keeping your AC flowing at max performance is important to keeping cool. If your vehicle’s climate control is suffering from low airflow air conditioning check out these areas for blockages.

Check out all the air conditioning system parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on low airflow air conditioning, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Erich Reichert View All

Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.

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