Why Is My Car AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

Did your car AC suddenly stop blowing cold air? Are you worried because your car’s AC blows cool air instead of cold air?

A compressor issue might be why your car AC stops blowing cold air, other issues might be from the cooling fan, radiator, or other components of the air conditioning system of your vehicle.

This article provides you with reasons why your car AC isn’t blowing cold air, how to diagnose the exact problem, how to make your car air conditioner colder, and the cost of fixing a faulty AC.

Let’s get started!

Here are some reasons your AC is not blowing cold air

Presence of Mold and Mildew 

Small micro-organisms could obstruct your AC vents if you frequently leave the car’s AC turned on for an extended period. These bacteria could clog the vents, and have an adverse effect on the cooling process. The vents will not work properly when this occurs, despite your best efforts. This could cause your car AC not to properly cool the cabin.

For such threats to be avoided, the car should be serviced at least once every 5 to 6 months. Regular servicing will clear your AC duct and evade dust particles, and prevent the rapid growth and propagation of microorganisms, like mold and bacteria.

It is not just a hygienic solution, but also a clever technique to maintain your car’s Air Conditioner’s durability, thereby extending the life span of your vehicle’s air cooler.

Why Is My Car AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

Electrical Defaulting

Another unexpected cause of your vehicle’s AC failing is an undesirable short circuit in your electrical unit.

It happens quite frequently in maximum vehicles nowadays. If you live in a region where the temperature usually exceeds 45 degrees, your car’s electrical wires may become hot enough to cause your internal wiring, to have a short circuit.

There is a clever DIY fix, to avoid this inconvenience. First, the place the wire was shot should be analyzed, and the wire should be sealed with tape that is electricity resistant. The other end should then be joined to the connecting cable. However, you could also take your car to a certified car repair shop, to get this done. If your vehicle insurance covers this issue, relax and allow the experts to handle the situation.

Sometimes, you may not be able to identify the issue, and if the wire is misplaced or dislocated while doing a DIY repair, you could cause more damage to the internal electrical circuit. In addition, to cover the repair cost, you might have to spend a lot of money.

A refrigerant leak is also why your vehicle’s AC isn’t working. Your cabin is kept cool by the refrigerant. Refrigerant leaks have been observed to be a major cause of car AC problems, in many situations.

These issues can arise when your vehicle meets an unforeseen accident. There are leaks from the joints of the car’s AC hose, and it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the damage. However, the oily fluid that gathers near the hose indicates a refrigerant leak. Simply put, your refrigerant will need to be repaired, because it is damaged.

It is better to avoid fixing it yourself because you do not know how this technical problem can be handled, and the root cause of the issue. So before embarking on a long trip in your car, consider getting it repaired by a certified car mechanic.

Also Read: Transmission Slipping (Causes & Fix)

Blocked/Broken Condenser

Another genuine reason why your car’s Air Conditioner may not function properly is a damaged condenser. It is that specific component in your vehicle, that maintains the coolness of the refrigerant and then converts hot air to cool air, by causing the refrigerant to flow through the blower.

The air you breathe when in your car is the air blowing through your AC Vents. The vents are located at the front of your car’s grille. If there is any issue with the vents, your grille can easily be located, and the problems can then be diagnosed. If any blockage and dust or debris are found in the vents, your car may be overheated. In addition, if the heated air constantly blowing through your vehicle’s vent isn’t taken care of, it could cause serious damage to your condenser.

Such problems put a heavy load on your vehicle’s AC engine, which will eventually affect the air cooler. So you’d better exercise caution!

The smart decision would be to take your vehicle to a competent auto repair shop, authorized to work on cars with similar models.

Bad Compressor

We are all aware of the compressor’s role in a vehicle’s AC system. It ensures that the AC keeps running, and its malfunction would cause the refrigerant not to circulate properly. As a result, Hot Air will be blown into the vehicle. This is common when you turn on your car’s AC for the first time in about 2 to 3 months (especially in the winter). Then, in the summer, when you want to use your AC, your compressors could either misbehave or work properly, when not used for an extended period.

If you turn on your vehicle’s AC after about 15 to 20 minutes, regardless of the weather conditions outside, your compressors are supposed to function properly.

A Bad Fuse

A burnt fuse can also affect the AC cooling of your car. To diagnose this problem, your AC fuse has to be replaced. A blown-up fuse doesn’t only stop the compressor but also fills the cabin with hot air. Also, a single burnt fuse may affect the entire circuit you have installed in your car, thus affecting any functioning switches in your car’s circuit board. This is one reason you need to get a competent mechanic if your car shows such symptoms anytime you try to access your AC.

It’s not a big deal to replace the AC fuse found in your circuit box. A professional’s consent can, however, help to avoid future car issues of a similar nature.

A Bad AC Blower

A faulty blower vent can also cause inconveniences in your car’s AC cooling. This is why it is crucial to diagnose your blower vents, at least once every 6-8 months.

However, you could also conduct a DIY diagnosis, to determine how well it works. Feel the airflow speed, by placing your palms in front of the AC vents. If everything is in order, your air cooler is operating perfectly well. If there is a problem, the blower won’t spin at the proper speed, and you will feel this in the palm of your hand. At this point, you have to contact a technician to resolve this technical issue.

A Faulty Compressor Belt

A compressor requires a large amount of energy and power, to function properly. If it gets worn out or weak due to frequent use, there will be a significant energy loss in the compressor, leading to an AC malfunction. Likewise, your car won’t start up if your compressor belts are weak. These compressor belts generally drive your vehicle’s energy and power functioning. When the belt malfunctions, the AC will not operate as it should.

It is strongly advised that this issue is quickly resolved, at an authorized auto repair store or shop, and your compressor belts are replaced without delay.

Any neglect in that area can result in a reduction of your Air Conditioner’s lifespan, and the lifespan of your vehicle’s engine as well.

Overheating of Engine

The fan in a vehicle’s radiator will always be ineffective if the car engine is overheated. This will make the condenser unable to cool the vehicle, and use the refrigerant’s maximum efficiency to fill up the car with hot air.

It is always best to get professional assistance to avoid a situation like this since it will also help your car avoid further problems associated with your vehicle’s AC machine.

Blocked Cabin Air Filter

This can also be a problem if your AC isn’t efficiently cooling. Again, you can make the diagnosis by yourself. Simply remove the cabin filter from a dashboard holder. It is most likely the cause of the reduced airflow into the cabin if it isn’t clean. The air filter will need to be replaced if this is the case.

You can change it yourself; just replace your Cabin Filter with an authentic new one, and the issue will be resolved. If it, however, persists, you should visit a certified car repair shop.

A Bad AC Actuator

It has frequently been observed that if the AC in a car is blown at the highest setting, the car’s air flaps usually open.

When this happens in your car for an extended period, and this mistake is neglected, hot air that blows in from outside the car dilutes the Air Conditioner’s effect, by reducing the speed of the air flowing inside your vehicle.

This is why many car owners go to certified vehicle servicing stores and workshops, to repair their AC units.

How to Dictate Your Car’s AC Problems

Is Your AC Cool but Not Really Cold?

If your air conditioner is set to the maximum cool setting and the fans are on a high, yet the airflow is only moderately cool.

When the AC is on, check if the cooling fans on your radiator or condenser are running.

Check for any obstructions like bugs, dirt, or leaves that could prevent air from flowing through the condenser.

Inspect your cabin’s air filter, to ensure it isn’t clogged.

After this, always use a manifold gauge to check the system’s pressures. You can check for the recommended low-side and high-side pressures online, or in your car’s repair manual. After hooking up your gauges, you can then observe the compressor itself.

Check the AC Compressor First

It is easiest to start with the AC compressor when you are diagnosing an issue with the air conditioning system.

While the engine is running, turn up the AC to the maximum cool setting, set the fans on high, and ensure that the clutch is engaged on the AC compressor. Note that, this is the centerpiece that connects your pulley to your compressor shaft, not your pulley itself. If this clutch disengages and engages once every few seconds, it indicates a low refrigerant level. You’ll also observe a rapid drop in low-side pressure on the gauge when your clutch engages and hits a very low-pressure point, and you’ll notice a pressure rise when the clutch disengages. Your gauge should remain steady while the compressor is running, and maintain the recommended pressure as you add more refrigerant.

If your clutch isn’t engaging and your refrigerant level isn’t low, a voltmeter should be used to check the voltage the compressor receives.

If voltage is present – the clutch might be faulty.

If there’s no voltage – you may have a blown fuse, or a bad cycling switch or the system might not have the refrigerant pressure required to trip the low-pressure cutoff switch, which cycles the AC compressor.

Check Out for Leakages

Leaks cause most problems associated with your AC system.

A leak could occur as a result of low pressure.

The simplest way to detect a leak is to use a UV AC leak detection kit. Follow the kit’s packaging guidelines, to introduce UV dye to your system and use UV light to detect the leak.

  • Inspect around all the fittings, to confirm that they’re secure.
  • Inspect the compressor’s hose manifolds.
  • Check the o-rings that seal the pressure switches located at the rear end of some compressors and the front seal.
  • Check the hoses that are crimped to the fittings.
  • Inspect the Schrader Valves
  • Inspect the condenser for pinholes.
  • Use the UV light to check where the evaporator drains condensation. Dye or oil may be seen in some cases.

Note that this dye check won’t work, if your compressor isn’t cycling and your system is very low.

How Do I Make My Car Air Conditioner Colder?

Some tips to help make your car air conditioner colder (if it isn’t getting sufficiently cold) are given below:

Change the Cabin Air Filter

The lube center can do this for you when you get an oil change. The cabin air filter keeps dust, dirt, pollen, and other pollutants from entering your vehicle when the AC is running. The cool airflow will get blocked if it gets clogged up and too dirty.

Avoid Parking under the Sun 

We Texas residents indeed cherish open parking spots, so this could be difficult, but try your best. If you park your car under the sun, its interior temperature can rise to 172°F when the temperature outside gets up to 100°F. You can purchase windshield shades from auto parts shops, and use them to shield your dashboard vents from direct exposure to sunlight. This will also protect the dashboard. Although it may somewhat reduce the heat, cracking windows is not the safest method to ensure your car stays cool.

Upgrade the Air Conditioning System

Your mechanic should check your refrigerant level as it could be getting slightly low, or you might have a line leak in your system. Again, it’s better to detect this issue now, rather than wait until your car’s air conditioning stops functioning.

Do Not Activate Max Air Immediately

Even though it’s hot outside and very hot inside the car, resist the urge to crank up your car’s air conditioner. Even on the max setting, your system will still draw in hot air from hot vents, even hotter than the air outside. The system will work harder if you set it on max cool, not cooler. Instead, you can set the speed of your fan to maximum and allow it to blow out hot air for some minutes, then set it on “recirculate” for about one or two minutes, then switch the setting to maximum cool.

Do Not Mix Signals

When all the hot air has been expelled from the cabin, turn the AC temperature to maximum cool. The intermediate setting will make your vehicle use more fuel, and your car AC system won’t work very efficiently either. You can minimize the amount of cold air you get, by adjusting the fan.

Why Is My Car AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

Cost of Repairing A Faulty AC

As we’ve already discussed, there are a variety of potential causes for the malfunctioning of an AC system. These reasons include a leak in one of the numerous hoses or an issue in an AC component.

It’s important to remember that a malfunctioning Air Conditioner, should be repaired in a certified repair shop. In addition, it is unlawful to release refrigerant into the air.

To heed this law, you must use a special recovery device. A vacuum must be inside your system when your AC system is being filled. Moisture and air will cause many issues if they’re present in your system.

The cost of repair depends on the exact problem. The most frequently occurring issues and the cost of AC repair will be covered in the subsequent section.

Cost of Repairing AC Leak

If you discover that your system leaks somewhere, the leaking component needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, almost all AC components could leak.

If your compressor operates with low refrigerant levels for a long period, it could eventually malfunction, and you’ll need to replace the compressor.

If leaks are in your O-rings, which may be the issue if your vehicle is newer, you’ll need to replace them. O-rings are usually a comparatively small and inexpensive component, but since you would need to depressurize and evacuate the entire system, the labor cost will be expensive.

O-rings cost about $10 per pack, but a compressor may be purchased for hundreds of dollars. The labor cost varies because it depends on the component that must be repaired.

The cost of labor should be expected to be between $150 and $500. This implies that the whole expense could be between $160 and $1000 or even more, depending on what component needs to be replaced.

Cost of Repairing An AC Compressor

As we earlier discussed, every AC repair requires the system to be properly handled. This means that the repair would require a comparatively high labor cost and special tools.

The cost of labor and components in any auto repair would depend on the model of your car. For example, the cost of purchasing an AC compressor varies between $100 and $200 on average, while the cost of labor fluctuates between 300 and 800 dollars, depending on the car’s model.

Cost of Repairing A Clogged Filter

Fortunately, this is an inexpensive fix you can do in some minutes, even with no expertise.

You can purchase a cabin filter for about 10 to 20 dollars. Changing your filter is very easy, and quick to do. However, there’s a high chance that shops and dealerships will overcharge, for a cabin filter replacement.

It is therefore much better to change your filter yourself. However, if your vehicle is already in the repair shop for a different issue, you could ask the technician to help you change your filter. Likely, they won’t charge you for it in these circumstances.

If you have a clogged condenser, just remove the leaves, dirt, or anything else that may be obstructing it. Very simple and inexpensive!

There’s a chance that the AC’s other components may also be defective, in which case the issue needs to be properly addressed.

Every component may be affected, including the evaporator, hoses, compressor, condenser, and more.

If this occurs, professional tools must be used to carry out the work, to ensure that your system doesn’t get contaminated.

Due to the cost of labor, the repair cost may be expensive, depending on what component needs a replacement. The total cost of parts and labor could easily exceed $1000.

Procedures to Maintaining Your Car’s AC System

The lifespan of a vehicle’s components can be extended by regular maintenance. So to increase the longevity of your car’s AC, you have to maintain and service it regularly.

Here is how the AC of your car can be maintained, and maximum cooling can be obtained from it:

  • Replace your filter every three months, because a clogged or dry filter can restrict smooth airflow, and cause your car’s A, and C to produce hot air.
  • Recharge the car’s Air Conditioner with refrigerant, don’t let the AC run if its refrigerant level is insufficient.
  • Even if it’s very cold where you live, your AC should be turned on at least once every two weeks. This maintains the gas pressure, thus ensuring that the compressor keeps running properly.
  • Use the defrost mode, to melt the ice accumulated on your evaporator coil. As mentioned earlier, if your evaporator coil is frozen, it could cause your car’s Air Conditioner to malfunction.

What Is the Normal Car Air Conditioning Temperature?

Your car air conditioning system’s refrigerant is an oily substance essential in the system’s cooling and proper operation. If the refrigerant level in a running system is too low, the compressor will fail, because it’s not getting a sufficient amount of lubricant.

To check if your car’s AC is operating at peak efficiency, use a thermometer to determine the temperature around the vent. First, drive your car with your AC set to “max .”The temperature in the vent should range from 34 to 48 degrees if the temperature outside ranges from 70°F to 80°F. If not, take your vehicle to a mechanic and ask them to check out the system.

Duration for Fixing AC in a Car?

You cannot set a definite time for car AC repairs. The replacement parts, supplies, and labor are unpredictable. However, it typically takes a time range of about 3 to 5 hours, sometimes less, sometimes much longer.

Lifespan of a Car AC ?

The lifespan of the car AC compressor might range from 8 to 10 years with regular use and yearly maintenance. Most vehicle owners will never need a compressor replacement because they exchange their cars for new ones every three to five years.

Also Read: How to Bleed off an Overcharged AC (Expert Guide)

Frequently Asked Questions – Why Is My Car AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

How do I know if I need to recharge my car’s AC?

Warm air blowing from the vents in your AC cabin is a warning sign that the system needs to be recharged.

Why is my AC not blowing cold air after recharge?

Your compressor probably has to be replaced, if the AC in your car suddenly stops producing cold air. The engine responsible for powering the entire AC system is the compressor. Unfortunately, the compressor tends to break down, resulting in the failure of the entire system, if it’s either not working or running low on oil.

Why is my AC making noise and not cooling?

A shrieking produced by your AC indicates that your fan motor is faulty. This noise could also result from a damaged motor in your condenser system’s compressor. A squealing or screeching noise, might also be due to your hose’s broken blower fan motor.

Why is my AC not cooling when idling?

If your car is idle, the Freon circulation in your system, will not happen with the usual amount of pressure available to your AC. This could cause a break in airflow, and produce a poor cooling effect.

How long does fixing the AC in the car?

The time it takes to fix the AC could be about three to five hours, depending on the exact problem the car’s air conditioner is experiencing.

Conclusion – Why Is My Car AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

The most challenging aspect of fixing the car AC is determining what needs to be fixed because many components are in the system. Most cars have the same fundamental car AC parts. These components are the condenser, the evaporator, and the compressor. Your car’s air conditioning system will only cool properly if all three components work at maximum efficiency.

Therefore, anytime you notice that your Air Conditioner isn’t cooling as well as it once did, you need to get it repaired without delay.

Leave a Comment