Updated at: 09-08-2022 - By: Lucas

Because the sun’s rays can raise the temperature in the car interior by up to 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) over the temperature in the atmosphere, the air conditioning system is critical to the driver’s and passengers’ comfort.

Nowadays, most automobile manufacturers prioritize the air conditioning system, which is one of the standard features of the vehicles.

The operation of the air conditioning system deteriorates over time and need frequent revisions, the most common of which is the refilling of the installation with refrigerant.

Car air conditioning operates on the same principle as room air conditioning, with the exception that the rotation of the compressor is provided by the engine’s rotation.

Vehicles are available with either manual or automated air conditioning. The difference between the two is determined by the type of order, with the automatic being far more convenient and efficient, but also far more expensive.

What are the most common problems with the car air conditioning system?

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  • The AC compressor does not start
  • The air temperature is not low enough
  • The airflow is low
  • The air conditioning smells bad
  • The AC system is noisy
  • The refrigerant is low or missing

Refilling with refrigerant

The most common and easiest problem with air conditioning is a drop in refrigerant pressure or even its full emptying. In most cases, a specialized car service will address the problem by replenishing the AC system with refrigerant.

Although the passage of time is the most common cause of a lack of refrigerant (on average, it is recommended to check the entire installation annually and refill every 2 to 3 years), the system may occasionally have other problems, such as broken pipes, AC radiator cracks, and losses on various components (valves, compressor, condenser, etc. ).

These issues can be recognized by introducing a specific fluorescent gas into the system and marking the regions where the gas is leaking.

Another consumable of the AC installation is the oil required for the compressor’s operation, which will also be changed when a problem with it is discovered.

What are the causes of a failing air conditioning compressor?

To begin with, the AC compressor is prone to wear because it frequently begins and stops whenever we turn on or off the automobile air conditioning.

Debris or dust accumulates on the air conditioning system over time may cause the air conditioning compressor to fail.

Older air conditioning system components (expansion valves, evaporators, etc.) might clog the system and cause overpressure at the compressor level. The lack of lubricant inside the compressor, as well as its operation without oil, might result in significant mechanical faults.

What are the most common symptoms of a defective air conditioner?

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When the air conditioning compressor is worn out, it usually sends us some signs. The most typical are:

Indefinite Noise

If indeterminate or odd noises are heard when turning on the air conditioner, the AC compressor should be checked. The noise is caused by wear and tear on the bearings or internal components.

Hot air instead of cold air

When the compressor fails, the air conditioning system’s usual flow of refrigerant is disrupted, and the air entering the passenger compartment becomes more hot, even if the temperature is set to a much lower setting.

Fluid leakage

The compressor is made up of various components, including its own bearings. If the compressor bearings are worn out, the fluid is no longer stopped from leaking when the refrigerant is pressured, and therefore we get fluid leaks.

The compressor clutch is blocked

The clutch connects the compressor to the engine via a transmission wheel and allows it to run. As a result of the clutch locking, the air conditioning compressor stops working.

AC condenser radiator

This radiator breaks the most often because it is the first radiator and it catches many stones and pollutants from entering it due to its poor arrangement between the front bumper and the engine cooling radiator (it is installed here to cool as well as possible). road.

A small tip: if you go to the vehicle wash in the summer, insist on this radiator since dust is thermally insulating and will prevent the radiator from doing its work. This radiator is constructed of aluminum and can theoretically be repaired/welded, however most of the time such a repair is ineffective because repairing the radiator in one area causes it to fail quickly in other places.

Dehumidifier filter

The dehumidifier filter removes moisture from the AC system to protect the compressor, and it is also responsible for the quick demisting of the windshield since it provides dry air, which keeps us from having a misted windshield. It must be replaced at every system intervention (when changing the radiator, a compressor, a pipe, etc.) or every two years.

If this filter becomes clogged, it is a common cause of air conditioning system malfunction because it clogs the system on the high pressure side, and in such circumstances, we reach pressures exceeding 30 bar, which can break a pipe or cause the radiator to burst due to too much pressure.

The cabin fan

Of course, if this does not work, you will have no cool air in the automobile. This is obvious since, even if you order it, you will no longer have ventilation. If it does not work at the first fan speed, examine the maximum fan speed because it can only operate this way when the fan resistance fails (the resistance that can be changed separately from the fan and that fails most often due to overheating caused by a dirty cabin filter).

Tips for maintaining the AC system

  • First of all, it is recommended to check the air conditioning system annually. Thus, any malfunctions can be identified early and remedied.
  • Also, changing the cabin filter in time and cleaning the entire installation helps prevent debris or dust deposits and prevent the appearance of bad smell.
  • Start the air conditioner at least weekly, even in winter. The components of the air conditioning compressor will lubricate and thus reduce the risk of damage.
  • Before filling the installation with refrigerant, it is recommended to clean the entire air conditioning system with special cleaning equipment.
  • The way of cleaning the air conditioning installation is done according to the car and the type of installation. Generally, to get rid of the unpleasant odor, a special cleaning spray can be used, which will be “blown” on the condensate drainage channel or through the cabin filter area (which will be taken off).
  • Refill the installation with refrigerant at least every 2-3 years to avoid lowering its pressure.