Heels & Horsepower Magazine


5 Signs Your Car’s Air conditioner Needs some TLC

By H&H Admin

Summer is upon us and with it comes hot sunny days. The last thing you need is a broken air conditioner. 

Most components in your car give you a warning before they stop working, and you could save yourself a lot of money and frustration if you take action immediately you notice something is about to malfunction.  

Here are five signs your air-con unit needs a bit of TLC.

1. The Cooling Level Has Decreased

You are probably quite familiar with how well your car’s air-con works under normal circumstances so you will most likely notice if the cold temperature setting no longer cools the air as it should.  It may be gradual but you will eventually begin to notice a decrease in cool air, as the flow of air becomes faint or non-existent.

This could be caused by:

  • Low refrigerant
  • Obstructed or failed condensor
2. Balmy or No Air

Even though your temperature setting may be cold when your car’s air con is on its last legs, the air coming through it may be warm or balmy.  

This could be caused by:

  • An accumulation of mould or mildew on the evaporator
  • A damaged or loose hose
  • A damaged ventilation fan
  • A blown fuse
3. You Hear Weird Sounds

The only noise you should hear from your car’s air con is the flow of air coming through the vents.  Odd air con noises include banging, ticking, or humming.  However, there are two common types of noises you may hear from an unhealthy air-con unit. To understand these sounds, we must paint a picture of how the unit works.

The air conditioner relies on the compressor, whose job is to help build up pressure within the air-con system as well as cause proper flow of refrigerant.  The compressor uses a pulley bearing, which wears out over time. As it wears out, the air con begins to grind or squeak. 

The compressor also uses a clutch which eventually wears out too.  As the clutch wears out, it makes a rattling sound.  

In either case, other causes of the strange noises could be:

  • An obstruction such as leaves in the system
  • Failed or malfunctioning blower motor
4. You Smell Strange Odours

There shouldn’t be any odours when you turn on your air-con.  Strange smells coming from the air vents are another indication of a failing air conditioning system.  The odours are generally caused by the presence of bacteria such as mould, mildew, fungus and other micro-organisms under the dashboard, hoses, or a dirty cabin filter.

Other causes of strange smells include:

  • The frequency of use of the air conditioner
  • Age of the vehicle
  • Moisture in the air conditioning system due to excess condensation
5. Damp Floor Or Puddles Of Water Inside The Car

In normal circumstances, the air conditioning system drains water away from the car, but sometimes the drain becomes blocked, causing water to back up and pool inside the car instead. When this happens, water can build up under the car’s floor mats and dashboard, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.  

Other causes of pools of water include:

  • A clogged drain line
  • Excess condensation

The air conditioning system in your car doesn’t work just to keep the interior of the car cool.  It also acts as a dehumidifier, ensuring that you and your passengers inhale the best quality air possible.

It is important that you take care of your car’s air conditioner so that it can last as long as possible, giving you many happy kilometres of comfortable travel.

Share this article: