Search by Car

3 Steps to Check Your Cars AC System

Is the air conditioner in your vehicle feeling a little warm? If so, there are a few checks you can make yourself before heading to a licensed mechanic. It could be any number of circumstances that are causing your car’s air conditioner to run warm. The most obvious could be that it simply needs to be recharged.

How to Diagnose a Cars AC Problem

There are three steps one should take to diagnose their car AC problem. These are measures you can take without the aid of an expensive mechanic.

Is the AC Cool But Not Cold?

If the AC is running cool but not cold, there are three things you need to check before taking your vehicle to the mechanic. It could save you a lot of time and money to check these three things.

  • You want to make sure the cooling fans are running at the time the AC is on. These are on the radiator or the condenser.
  • Are there any restrictions that are keeping the air from passing through to the condenser? These restrictions can be leaves, bugs, or dirt.
  • How does the cabin air filter look? If the cabin air filter is looking like it needs to be changed, you should buy a new one and change it. Save yourself the mechanics labor charge and do it yourself.

Also, you might want to check the pressure in your system for your vehicle. You can do this with a gauge set. Look in the owner’s manual for the recommended high and low-side for the pressure.

You Should Start With the AC Compressor

The most obvious place to start your AC diagnosis is with the compressor.

  • Turn on the engine. Crank up the AC to the max and make sure the fans are blowing high. Is the clutch engaging the compressor? The clutch should not be mistaken for the pulley. The clutch is the centerpiece that engages the pulley. If the clutch is engaging and disengaging too fast, it means the refrigerant in your vehicle is too low.
  • If your clutch is not engaging at all, you will need to use a voltmeter to test the voltage getting into the compressor.
  • If you have voltage getting into the compressor, you will need to replace the clutch.

Most AC Problems Are From Leaks

If the pressure is low in your air conditioning system, then you might leak somewhere. Here are some common leaks for the AC system.

  • If you buy a UV AC leak detection kit, it could be the easiest way to find a leak in your system. Follow the directions that come with the kit. Introduce UV dye into the system and then check it with a UV light.
  • Is the area around all the fittings secure?
  • Do not forget about the hose manifolds around the compressor.
  • You should also check the front seals and the o-rings. These are the pressure switches on the back of some compressors.
  • Check all the crimpings on the hoses.
  • You should also check the Shrader Valves.