Freon being added to Buick.

Five possible reasons why your air conditioning isn’t working

In Automotive Diagnostics by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

When the sun is beating down during your commute or on long car rides, it’s nice to have an air conditioning system that works correctly.

In the spring and summer, many drivers will notice that the AC won’t do its job. There isn’t one set answer for this issue. A number of problems can prevent cold air from flowing through the vents.

Below are five potential causes of a/c problems.

Some air conditioning issues

Low on freon: One possibility is that the car could be low on refrigerant. This means that the system likely has a leak. Air conditioning leaks could be coming from multiple locations, including fittings, rubber gaskets, and lines.

Low pressure line between the condenser and compressor leaking.
Refrigerant leak on Nissan Altima

Malfunctioning expansion valve: It’s also possible that the problem lies with the expansion valve, which helps control the amount of freon that flows through the A/C system. This component may not be working correctly.

An expansion valve.
Expansion valve

Electronic Climate Control System: Another part that could be failing is the Electronic Climate Control System. This function determines how cold or hot it gets in the front of the car.

An electronic climate control system.
Electronic Climate Control System

Operator error: Today, the setup for A/C systems varies among vehicles. So, it’s very easy to hit the wrong button — or not the one you should. It’s a good idea to read the owner’s manual and make sure you aren’t missing something.

Turning on the air conditioning.
Turning on the air conditioning

Constricted air conditioning condenser: You might also want to check to see if the condenser is constricted. Due to improper cleaning or an impact, the fins could become bent and block the airflow.

Old air conditioning condenser.
Old air conditioning condenser

Testing the a/c system

The reasons mentioned above are just a few potential culprits behind air conditioning problems. 

As we mentioned, an a/c system might not be working due to a leak. Because leaks aren’t always visible and can occur in different areas, we need to narrow down the search. To do this, we take a look at how the system is running. 

With a machine, our automotive technicians determine the amount of refrigerant it has. Through vacuuming, they can see if leaks are present. Ultraviolet dye and oil are injected into the system to determine the location of the leak. The car AC is recharged after this process.

How soon we can see the ultraviolet dye varies. Sometimes, a vehicle needs to be driven 100 miles or so and brought back to the shop before we can find the leak. 

Drivers don’t need to wait until they’re experiencing a problem. However, it’s important that they avoid waiting too long before having the system checked again. The dye can get all over the place or wash off.

Bringing your car in for a/c repair

When bringing your vehicle in for a/c repair, provide as many details about the problem as possible.

Some important information includes what you noticed, when you noticed it, and what has happened since then.

You may be asked if you have good airflow through the vents, if you can change the temperature control, or if an event occurred around the time that you started experiencing the problem.

These answers and additional details allow us to focus on certain areas or issues.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.