Common Reasons Why Car A/C Fails

Common Reasons Why Car A/C Fails

31st Dec 2015

Has your car's air conditioner (A/C) stopped working? Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem. While it usually doesn't pose any risk to the car's driving function, it can make rides unbearably hot during the peak summer months. Being that it's still winter, however, you can identify and fix problems with the A/C before the temperatures begin to rise. So today we're going to reveal some of the most common reasons why car A/C systems fail.

Low Refrigerant Levels

The single most common reason why car A/C systems stop working is because they are low on refrigerant. Just like the A/C system in your home uses refrigerant, so does your car. Air is passed through the liquid, cooling it before it's dispersed through the vents. Over time, however, refrigerant may dissipate or leak, reducing its effectiveness at cooling the air. When this occurs, your car will continue to blow air with the A/C on, but it's usually room temperature instead of cold.

Refrigerant "recharge" canisters can be purchased for as little as $20 bucks, making this a quick and easy fix. However, you should check to see what refrigerant your car uses, as there are two primary forms available: R12 (freon) and R134a. R12 is predominantly used in older cars built prior to the mid 1990s, whereas R134a is used in newer cars.

Dirty Air Filter

Of course, another possible reason why your car's A/C system no longer works is because it has a dirty air filter. Air filters are designed to catch small particles of dust, dirt and debris, preventing them from entering the car's cabin. If the filter isn't changed on a regular basis, however, debris will accumulate on the surface of the filter to the point where it restricts the normal flow of air. 

You can purchase a new air filter from most auto shops, and installing them is a breeze. Just locate your car's air filter, pull it out, and plug in the new one.

Damaged Air Ducts

A third possible cause of a faulty A/C system is broken air ducts. If there's physical damage done to the ducts, it may restrict or completely block the flow of air. This usually occurs when someone accidentally pierces the duct with a sharp object, causing the air to exit through the hole instead of the vent. So if you are experiencing problems with your car's A/C system, check the ducts to ensure they are intact and not punctured in any way.

Related Reading: How to Detect and Fix AC Leaks in Your Car