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Why isn’t my car’s air conditioning working?

Posted by tom zoebelein on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 07:05 AM

Bel Air, MD mechanic Air Conditioning service_2

Now that summer is officially here and the weather is in the 90s here in Harford County, Maryland, we’ve gotten a number of cars this week with malfunctioning air conditioning systems.  It’s something you don’t usually realize until it finally gets hot enough to use it, but it’s miserable to suddenly discover that your air conditioning isn’t working right when you need it. 

If you recently got into your car and discovered that your air conditioning wasn’t working, here are some possible causes of the problem:

Your cooling fans aren’t turning on.
Cars are equipped with multiple fans and sometimes they stop working properly.  When you press your air conditioning button, it’s the high speed fans in particular that should turn on.  If they are suddenly unable to turn on, then they should be replaced.

You have a refrigerant leak.
One of the most common air conditioning problems that we see is leakage.  To determine where a leak might be in your system, we use a fluorescent dye, which shows up easily when leaked out.  If you have a leak in your air conditioning system, it will need to be sealed and your refrigerant will need to be recharged.  In some cases, it is as simple as replacing a damaged O ring. 

Harford County, MD mechanic

Your compressor is locking up. 
There is a clutch on the front of your air conditioning compressor, which can get locked up, causing your air conditioning to stop working.  If it gets locked in the off position, it is likely due to an air gap that prevents the clutch from engaging the compressor.  If it gets locked in the on position, it can cause your compressor to run constantly.  To repair a clutch that is locked, you will probably need your compressor replaced.

You have catastrophic failure.
Catastrophic failure is what happens when your entire air conditioning system breaks down.  A string of problems would need to occur in order for this to happen.  For instance, if you get a bad leak, it could cause your compressor to lock up, which could ultimately cause the whole system to fail.  To repair catastrophic failure of your air conditioning system, you would need to replace every component, including the compressor, receiver, condenser, evaporator, and orifice tube. 

Bel Air, MD mechanic

Prevention is key.
The best thing you can do is to have your air conditioning system checked annually.  It’s natural to lose some refrigerant over time, just like your tires lose air pressure over time.  Refrigerant is essential to your car, because it lubricates your entire AC system.  Without that lubrication, you risk having your compressor lock up. 

At Ward Automotive in Bel Air, we can take a thorough look at your AC system to make sure everything is in good condition.  We are proud to service all of the towns in Harford County, including Aberdeen, Bel Air, Burns Corner, Darlington, Edgewood, Fallston, Havre de Grace, Hickory Hills, Jarrettsville, Joppatowne, Perryman, Pleasant Hills, Pylesville, and Riverside.  At Bel Air Autobody and Ward Automotive, we are the one-stop shop for all of your auto repair needs.


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Topics: Car repair Harford County, Auto Mechanic Abingdon, Auto Mechanic Edgewood, car repair Bel Air, Auto mechanic Bel Air Maryland, car parts, car problems, Shop terminology, summer weather car problems, preparing for summer weather, air conditioning system, AC system, air conditioning problems, seasonal car problems, compressor