Modern automobile A/C systems are quite complex. When something goes wrong, it can be time-consuming for even qualified technicians to diagnose your car’s A/C problem, but below are some tips that can help both novices and professionals quickly find the source of the problem so the issue can be resolved.
Always Start With Your Compressor
When in doubt, always begin with your compressor. To inspect it, start up your engine and then adjust the A/C to the highest settings. Review the clutch of the compressor to verify it’s engaged. This can be done by ensuring the central component which disengages and engages the pulley functions properly.
If you notice that it’s moving too quickly, this could be a sign that your refrigerant levels are too low. Inadequate refrigerant prevents A/C systems from operating correctly and can result from leakage or faulty parts. If you find that your compressor’s clutch is not engaging, apply the voltmeter to assess the voltage amount reaching your compressor. If voltage is getting through, you might have a faulty clutch.
Check for Leakage
Leaks are without a doubt one of the most common and annoying A/C problems. They will often, but not always manifest themselves in the form of low pressure. Because leaks can come from various sources, it is highly recommended to employ a leak detection tool to find them. These tools or kits consist of dyes and UV lights which are used to identify the source, but if the Freon levels are too low or the compressor doesn’t cycle this technique might not work.
When inspecting your vehicle’s A/C for leaks, verify that every fitting inside the system is secure and tight. Look at your hose manifolds along the compressor then inspect the areas which are crimped inside the fittings. It is also important to review the O ring-based seals as well as the seal in front. Sometimes they will appear along the compressor’s rear, but not every unit has them. If the A/C system uses Schrader Valves, check for pinholes within your condenser. You’ll also want to examine the spot where the condensation drains via the evaporator using a UV light, and if you detect dye or oil, this means you have a leak.
You’ve Got An Issue With The Condenser
If you notice that your vehicle’s A/C is only putting out moderately cold air even when the settings are turned up to the highest level, the condenser may be at fault. You’ll want to check both it and the radiator to ensure both are operating whenever your A/C is turned on. There is a possibility that the condenser has become damaged or clogged with debris, and this would prevent cold air from passing over.
Additionally, you’ll want to inspect your cabin air filter, as it too is vulnerable to damage and blockage. Finally, review the system pressure by applying the manifold gauge set. Read the manual that came with your vehicle or its A/C system to determine the pressure settings which are recommended to verify that everything is working correctly.