Tips on Troubleshooting Car Air Conditioning Problems

Posted on: 20 May 2016

Your car's air conditioning system is designed to regulate the interior temperature of your car so that you and your passengers can enjoy a comfortable ride. Therefore, the first thing that you will want to do once you've started your car on a hot summer day is to turn on the air conditioning system. But just like other components and systems of your car, your car air conditioning system may sometimes fail to work properly, and it can be very frustrating if you can't tell the source of the problem.

Follow these troubleshooting tips to help identify the cause of the problem with your car's air conditioning system:


The most common reason why your car air conditioning system may fail is due to lack of sufficient refrigerant in the system. The refrigerant is the fluid that is passed around the entire system to ensure that all people riding in a car get a sufficient supply of cool air when it is hot outside.

Although all vehicles usually lose some refrigerant of their air condition system, such loss of refrigerant does not usually drastically undermine the cooling performance of the air conditioning system. If it is not yet time to re-fill refrigerant and you are not getting any cooling service from your car's air conditioning system, then you will need to inspect the system for new leak spots. So, how can you spot these leak spots?

There are different techniques to choose from when it comes to checking for refrigerant leaks in your car air conditioning system. If upon a thorough visual inspection of the system you suspect that there are multiple refrigerant leaks that are too small to see, for example, you might need to use fluorescent leak detection. Why? Because fluorescent dye will detect even the smallest of leaks once it has been evenly applied.

Expansion valve

The expansion valve ensures that the correct amount of refrigerant is supplied to your evaporator. If this valve gets clogged, there will be no flow of refrigerant into the evaporator, which absorbs heat from the air that is circulated inside your car.

Apart from experiencing an interruption in the supply of cool air, another common sign that your expansion valve is clogged is when your car air conditioning system makes loud noises when running.

Compressor clutch

If this clutch is not pumping refrigerant through the air conditioning system when the system is turned on, it means that your compressor is unable to maintain the right pressure. Consequently, hot air will persist.

If you want to check whether or not the clutch is bad, use a voltmeter to test if voltage is being passed to the compressor. If there's voltage, it indicates that the clutch may be faulty.

Having a little knowledge of where to look the next time you are faced with car air conditioning problems can go a long way in ensuring that such problems are diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible. For more information, contact a local auto shop like Riverton Auto Electrics