So it’s wintertime. In most parts of the country, that means the AC in your car isn’t a major concern. After all, with a blizzard raging outside, a broken air conditioning unit is the least of your problems.
But it’s not too early to start thinking about that time when you’ll need your car’s air conditioning—and for those of you living in the far Southeast, summertime tends to hang around all year.
So it’s always a good idea to get ahead of a broken AC, and start troubleshooting for any problems that may crop up. Here are the five top reasons your AC may not be working at peak efficiency.
1. Blocked Condenser
Okay, this one might appear to be obvious.
But a blocked condenser is one of the commonest reasons for a malfunctioning unit. The thing is, the condenser uses the airflow streaming through your car while you drive to cool the hot refrigerant.
And if road debris gets caught up in the car’s front grill, blocking the condenser, this ends up choking the airflow. Bottom line: if your AC is warm, check the condenser first and look for signs of blockage.
2. Damaged Condenser
So what if it looks like your condenser isn’t blocked?
Well, your problem could still be with the condenser. In this case, it might be that the condenser itself is broken, either through equipment failure or external damage. The only real fix here is to replace the condenser altogether.
3. Low Refrigerant
This is another common factor in a broken AC.
Now, the reasons for low refrigerant can be various. It may simply be that your refrigerant hasn’t been recharged in a while. Or perhaps it’s a leak somewhere in the system.
A good AC recharge kit with a sealant will get your air conditioning back in working shape either way.
4. Electrical Issues
The problem with your AC could be something as basic as an electrical issue.
If this is the case, you can try to locate the problem by inspecting the wiring and looking for frayed or otherwise damaged wires. If it’s as simple as this, you can repair the issue by replacing the wiring or even just mending it with electrical tape.
Otherwise, taking your vehicle in for a tune-up may be the next step.
5. Broken Compressor
If none of the above issues seem to be affecting your AC, then it might be time to consider that the unit’s compressor is faulty.
The compressor keeps your vehicle’s AC unit moving, circulating refrigerant and pumping out that cool air. Unfortunately, sometimes the compressor can get shocked into malfunctioning if it hasn’t been operated for a while. For instance, when you start up the AC after a long period of disuse.
So, every once in a while, consider running the AC for a couple of minutes—even in the dead of winter. Just to keep everything shipshape.
Keep Your AC in Good Condition
Even though your car’s AC may not be at the top of your list of concerns right now, it’s a good idea to check for any of these issues and do a little proactive maintenance. The absolute worst thing that can happen is to have to deal with a broken AC in the middle of July.
Want to learn more about auto repair and maintenance? Check out the rest of our blog for more great articles.