Air conditioning is one of those things that most drivers take for granted until something goes wrong. Below are some common warning signs that your car A/C needs repair, and if you choose to ignore them the consequences can be severe.
You Notice A Bad Smell
If the A/C vents are emitting an unpleasant odor, this is definitely a sign that you’ve got a problem. It usually means that the air filter has become dirty and most likely needs to be replaced. Mold has also probably grown in either your evaporator or the A/C unit itself, which is where the smell is coming from. Stop using your A/C immediately because if you or other passengers continue breathing in the foul air it can lead to respiratory issues.
The A/C Is Leaking
Sometimes A/C leaks can be tough to spot, but if present they are an indication that something is wrong. Leakage is almost always caused by moisture or age, but the most challenging thing is identifying the source. If your air conditioning is old and hasn’t been inspected for years, there is a possibility that the elasticity of the hoses or rubber seals has become compromised, leading to leaks. However, leakage can also result from refrigerant becoming mixed with moisture that produces an acid that is corrosive and capable of completely destroying your air conditioning system.
When you turn on your A/C, the only thing you should hear is the sound of the air coming out. If you notice unusual sounds like banging, vibrating, or rattling, you can be certain that something is amiss. It could be that the A/C unit hasn’t been cleaned in a while, or it might be that the vents have become clogged with debris. And it might also be a sign that some part or component within the system has become loose or is broken. Because this issue can have so many causes it is best to take your vehicle to a mechanic unless you’re confident you can find the culprit yourself.
The Airflow Is Warm or Weak
A healthy air conditioning system has airflow which is strong and cold. If you notice that the airflow coming out of the vents is warm or weaker than it should be, there could be numerous causes. The system might be low on refrigerant, or the air within is having trouble leaving the vents because mold or mildew are obstructing it, or you have loose connections or hoses or a cooling fan that has become damaged.
You Notice Water Stains
While it is normal to see water draining from the bottom of the vehicle once the A/C has been running for a time, water stains are not. Specifically, if you notice stains on the pavement beneath the vehicle or liquid pooling within the cabin, this is a sign that the drain near the car’s bottom is either clogged or damaged, which is making the water back up. The liquid will pool beneath the dash and on the floor mats and if not addressed soon can cause mildew to appear.