Hours spent in a hot, stifling vehicle can spoil a weekend getaway or vacation. A periodic under-hood inspection may help you address air conditioning problems before they spoil your trip.
Here’s what we will look for when inspecting your system.
- Are A/C component mounting bolts in place and tightly secured?
- Are caps installed on the A/C system service ports? This keeps out dirt, and also provides a seal for refrigerant.
- Does the compressor clutch engage when the A/C is switched on? If it doesn’t, this usually indicates a low (or empty) refrigerant condition, or an electrical problem. Rapid clicking or cycling noises at the compressor when the A/C is switched on could also indicate low refrigerant or some other problems.
- With the engine running and the A/C switched off, is there knocking or rumbling in the vicinity of the compressor. This could indicate a failing compressor clutch, and/or loose mounting hardware.
- Are all belts free of cracks, wear, and glazing. They should be replaced at the first sign of any of these conditions. Are there any belts that vibrate while the engine is running and the A/C is on. This may indicate a belt that needs to be tightened, or a defective automatic belt tensioner.
- Examine all A/C and cooling system hoses for cuts, abrasion, weak spots, and signs of leakage. Leakage from A/C system hoses is often indicated by an accumulation of dirt and oil, particularly at connections and fittings.
- Make sure the condenser is free of any obstructions, such as leaves or insects. This could reduce airflow, resulting in reduced A/C performance.
Signs of Air Conditioning Problems
- Wet carpeting on hot, humid days can indicate a clogged air conditioner drain. When the drain is working correctly you'll see a good amount of water dripping onto the pavement under the vehicle after you park.
- A vibration or abnormal noise when the fan is on could indicate debris in the blower fan (mice like to build nests in fans).
- A reduced amount of air coming out of the vents, especially if it happens after driving for awhile, might mean the air conditioner's evaporator is freezing up.
- A musty or mildewy odor when the fan is first turned on, or all the time when the system is running, can indicate that mold or mildew is growing in the evaporator box.Reduce the buildup of mold and mildew by turning the A/C recirculation switch off when you park the truck. If your vehicle doesn't have a recirculation switch, turn the A/C switch away from the "Max Air" position every time you shut off the engine.