4 most common car air conditioning problems & How to fix them

Updated Aug 04, 2020 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Philkotse.com has gathered some common car aircon problems, including car aircon not cooling, car aircon smells bad, and car aircon fan not working &how to properly troubleshoot them.

Living in a tropical country where the climate is hot and humid all year round, it goes without saying that we Filipino drivers can hardly survive without car air conditioning system.

The significance of A/C is obvious. Not only does it help maintain comfortable temperature inside the vehicle during the ride and but more importantly, also filter the polluted air coming in from the outside.

Simple fixes that might get the car's AC system working

As the weather in the Philippines is far from ideal, most of Pinoy drivers tend to have their car air conditioning system always turned on until they arrive to the final destination. With such frequent usage, you might have encountered plenty of issues with your A/C.

Today, Philkotse.com has gathered 4 most common car air conditioning problems and shared the explanation as well as some solutions so that you can handle these issues with ease.

Car aircon problem #1: Car aircon not cooling

Car aircon is not cold is a very common car air con problem that every car driver has to deal with at least once during their ownership. There are many reasons causing the ineffective operation of your A/C and here are the 5 most common ones:

  1. Blocked or broken condenser
  2. Broken cooling fans
  3. Low coolant fluid level
  4. Electrical errors
  5. Internal obstruction

a woman in a car aircon not cold enough

Car aircon not blowing cold air in hot weather is one of the most popular car air con problems

While it is not too difficult to point out those possible reasons, to have it properly fixed is a different story. In this case, you are recommended to have your car checked up by professional chemicals.

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Car aircon problem #2: Unable to turn on the A/C

If you have ever felt frustrated when your A/C refuses to turn on and your temper is getting as hot as the air outside, maybe you can find the reasons for this issue in the following list:

  • Overheated A/C resulting in burnt fan due to long time of continuous running;
  • There might be a broken switch or a broken dial;
  • Bad habit of drivers to let the A/C always in hibernation mode;
  • Too low coolant fluid level preventing the A/C compressor to turn on;
  • Disconnected battery.

car aircon not functioning

If your car aircon not functioning properly and you cannot detect any possible causes, it's advised to bring your car to a trusted auto repair center

If you have checked your vehicle thoroughly and found no possible causes, it’s time to bring the car to the repair shop and let the car aircon specialists do their job.

Car aircon problem #3: Unable to shut off the A/C

While this might sound strange to some, it is, in fact, one of the most car air con problems.

Sometimes, you might get confused because the A/C still keeps running after you have already switched the engine off. In such case, look for the causes in the following parts:

  • The dial might be stuck in the “on” position;
  • Broken selector switch;
  • Ribbon cable might be out of the right track or gets loose;
  • Shorted motor relay
  • Shorted blower resistor
  • Shorted control circuit
  • Shorted AC controller

turning on car air conditioning system

Leaving the A/C continuously running might waste a considerable amount of fuel

Since this problem might waste a considerable amount of fuel while you leave the vehicle running with the A/C is still on, it needs to be fixed by professional mechanics as soon as possible.

>>> Recommended article: Should you shut off the A/C before turning off your car’s engine?

Car aircon problem #4: Car aircon smells bad

As mentioned above, the automotive air conditioning system is supposed to filter polluted air, providing the cabin with fresh ambiance. Therefore, if your A/C produces bad smell instead of fresh air, there are definitely problems.

In order to diagnose this car air conditioning problem, you need to detect which kind of smell blowing out of your car A/C.

cleaning car air conditioning system

Regularly cleaning the A/C helps maintain pleasant air inside the vehicle

Sweet or chemical smell

There are various crucial components that constitute an automotive air conditioner, for instance, heater core and radiator. The radiator, in particular, is responsible for cooling down the system using some kind of coolant fluid which is a sweet-smelling mixture made from different chemical materials.

If you detect such odor in your car after you turn the A/C on, there is probably a leak somewhere in the A/C system. Unfortunately, this sign usually indicates that you might have to replace some components. We would not suggest you to fix this issue yourself but bring it to a trusted service center to have it inspected properly.

Damp smell

This kind of bad smell is most usually found in old cars and those that have not been used for a long period of time. Old cars with high mileage and irregularly-used cars are often left in hot and humid conditions, which allows bacteria to grow and causes damp smell for the vehicle.

Make sure you have your car washed regularly to avoid unnecessary issues and use your car at least twice a week to protect its critical parts.

Pungent smell

Such odor normally indicates that there are some parts of your A/C are being stuck up and covered in dirt and dust. Sometimes, you can also find stagnant water in it. The solution to this problem is very simple. Instead of turning off the A/C to temporarily get rid of the irritating odor, all you have to do to completely address this problem is to have the entire A/C system leaned up.

How To Remove AC Odors From Your Car (Life Hack)

Gas smell

Sometimes, you might feel a mild waft of gas after turning on your air conditioning system. The one and only obvious answer to this situation is gas leaking.

This car aircon problem is resulted from a failure to function the units which causes the fresh air to be kept inside the vents and thus, leaking out the gas that has been built up inside the vents.

Air conditioning system is one of the most crucial parts of a vehicle. The more you understand about it, the longer it will last. Philkotse.com hopes this article has brought you some helpful tips for your car maintenance in terms of most common car air conditioning problems and their respective  car aircon troubleshooting tips.

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