12 Warning Signs Your Car’s AC is Dying
Tired of sweating while driving to work? Hate that funky smell coming from your vents? If so, then it’s probably time to consider getting your car’s AC looked at. Neglecting your vehicle’s air conditioning can lead to a wide range of other problems, ranging from poor MPG to even breathing problems.
What are the main symptoms of vehicle air conditioning failure? If you notice any of these problems, visit an auto service center near you for AC service.
1. Warm air blowing out of the AC vents
If you’re turning on the AC and only warm air is coming out of the vents, it’s a sign that the refrigerant level is low or there may be a leak in the system. This is one of the most obvious signs that something is wrong with your AC system. If the refrigerant level is low, it means that there’s not enough refrigerant in the system to cool the air, and if there’s a leak, it’s important to have it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
2. Weak airflow
Poor airflow from the AC vents may be due to a clogged cabin air filter, or a malfunctioning blower motor. The cabin air filter is responsible for filtering out dirt, dust, and other particles from the air that flows through the AC system. Over time, the filter can become clogged, which restricts the flow of air. A malfunctioning blower motor can also cause weak airflow, as it’s responsible for blowing the air through the vents.
3. Foul odor
A musty, moldy odor coming out of the AC vents indicates the presence of bacteria and mold growth inside the AC system, which can be harmful to your health. This is often caused by moisture that accumulates in the AC system or drain line over time, providing an ideal environment for bacteria and mold to grow. In addition to the foul odor, these microorganisms can also cause respiratory issues and other health problems, so it’s important to have the system cleaned and disinfected.
If your AC system is producing strange smells, it may also be due to a problem with the air filter. An old air filter can cause a musty or moldy smell to come out of the AC system. The solution to this is usually straightforward: Change your cabin air filter! This should be performed as part of your routine maintenance anyway.
4. Strange noises
Any weird noises when you turn on the AC (such as rattling, buzzing, or whistling) should be investigated promptly. It may be due to a loose or damaged belt or a failing AC compressor. The belt is responsible for driving the AC compressor, and if it becomes loose or damaged, it can cause the compressor to make strange noises. If the compressor is failing, it may also produce strange noises, as it’s responsible for compressing the refrigerant and circulating it through the AC system.
5. AC compressor not engaging
If the AC compressor is not engaging when you turn on the AC, it may be due to a faulty compressor, low refrigerant levels, or a faulty electrical connection. The compressor is responsible for compressing the refrigerant and circulating it through the AC system, so if it’s not engaging, the AC system won’t work properly.
6. Refrigerant leaks
Any green or oily stains under your car may be refrigerant. This can cause a decrease in AC performance and can be harmful to the environment. Refrigerant leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, such as worn out seals, corrosion, or physical damage to the AC system. It’s important to have these leaks fixed as soon as possible, both for your safety and for the environment.
7. AC system cycles on and off frequently
If your AC system is frequently cycling on and off, it may be due to a faulty AC sensor, low refrigerant levels, or a clogged air filter. The AC sensor is responsible for monitoring the temperature of the air that’s flowing through the AC system, and if it’s not working properly, it can cause the system to cycle on and off. Low refrigerant levels and a clogged air filter can also cause the system to cycle on and off, as they affect the ability of the system to cool the air.
8. AC system is not cooling like it used to
When you first got your vehicle, it blew cold air. Now? Not so much, and that’s a classic sign that the refrigerant level may be low or there may be a problem with the AC compressor. As refrigerant is responsible for cooling the air, a low level of refrigerant will affect the performance of the AC system. Additionally, a failing or damaged compressor can also cause the AC system to not cool the air effectively.
9. Car vibrates
A vibrating car is normally due to something related to your wheels or tires, but not always. If your AC system is causing your car to vibrate, it may be due to a problem with the AC compressor or the AC condenser. If the condenser or compressor are not working properly, that can cause the AC system to vibrate and affect the performance of the entire car.
10. Moisture or condensation inside the car
Notice moisture or condensation on the inside of your car’s windows, even when it’s not raining outside? Just like your windows at home, any condensation inside is a sign that something’s wrong. Usually, condensation inside a car is due to a clogged drain line or a failing evaporator core. Moisture buildup can lead to mold growth and unpleasant odors, and can also impair your visibility while driving. (You may also notice water pooling up on the floormats, which is another big problem.)
11. Electrical problems
Any electrical issues in your car (such as blown fuses, malfunctioning controls, or flickering lights) should not be overlooked. While there are many reasons for car electrical problems, including a dying battery or alternator, it may be due to a problem with the AC system. A malfunctioning AC compressor or faulty wiring can cause electrical issues in your car, which can lead to further damage if not addressed promptly.
12. Poor fuel economy
Although rare, a malfunctioning AC compressor or leaky refrigerant lines can cause the AC system to work harder, resulting in increased fuel consumption. If you notice a sudden drop in your car’s MPG, it’s important to get your AC system checked by a professional technician.
Is it Time for AC Service?
Your car’s AC system is essential for your comfort and safety, especially during hot and humid weather. (Hello, Birmingham!) Any warning sign of a failing air conditioning system should not be taken lightly. Bring your vehicle into an AC service center near you for an inspection and maintenance before your wallet starts sweating, too!
Contact Jim Burke Hyundai at (205) 502-2792 or schedule an appointment online for an AC check-up. Our Birmingham auto dealership services the entire area, including Hoover, AL.