Automotive A/C systems are designed to keep the driver and their passengers cool and comfortable when temperatures rise outside. It is also designed to work in an unobtrusive and silent manner. When a car’s air conditioning system is in good working order, it should produce minimal noise. What does it mean when you hear rattling noises when you turn it on? It could be any number of different problems.
You see, your A/C system is technically a separate system. It is attached to the rest of your car’s engine by the serpentine belt. The latter is responsible for pressurizing the refrigerant lines and turning the pulley at the A/C compressor. An electromagnetic clutch then causes the compressor to engage or disengage. Moving forward, a problematic A/C can produce a variety of noises, including:
It is pretty obvious that your A/C compressor is low on oil if it is hard to start and makes humming noises. Another cause would be a failed starting capacitor. Next, you may be facing a seized-up compressor motor if it refuses to start and continues humming.
Are you hearing a loud screaming or hissing noise from the compressor? These noises may indicate alarming levels of pressure buildup within the unit. If you hear such noises, stay calm and shut your system off. Next, proceed to contact your local trusted automotive HVAC service provider.
Knocking sounds do not occur as common as other sounds. If you hear noises such as these, it could be the result of loose mounting bolts. These bolts are designed to secure numerous air conditioning components. To identify the trouble area, you can stand back and observe while your car’s engine is running. You should be able to notice any loose components that are moving around or shaking. An easy way to fix this issue is to add thread-locking compound and the tighten the bolts.
If you detected hissing noises in the compressor, there could be a serious refrigerant leak happening. It is pertinent that you get it checked as soon as possible to prevent the leak from releasing into the environment. Leaks in the refrigerant lines can also produce bubbling or hissing noises. However, they are not as severe as the aforementioned.
A failing A/C compressor, or a worn-out serpentine belt or compressor pulley. can cause rattling noises. Compressor clutches are considered to be high-wear items and must be inspected and/or replace regularly.
Clanking or Banging Noises
If you hear banging or clanking noises, those noises could be a result of loose parts or system components. The latter may include piston pins or connecting rods. Oftentimes, the solution is to facilitate a compressor replacement.
Hearing Weird Noises? Never Ignore Them!
As a driver, it can be really concerning if you start hearing weird sounds coming from the air conditioner. You may feel slightly more alarmed when this occurs during the summer. This happens because A/C systems are the most important piece of a car. Whether it is a sign that something needs to be maintained or is failing, or simply a normal occurrence that shouldn’t stir up worry, you should always know what sounds to listen for from your A/C. It will help you located and effectively diagnose an issue before it hits the critical stage.