Summertime is the period where you’re banking on your car AC to keep you comfortable as you weave your way through traffic under the unforgiving sun. When your AC is functioning well you look forward to taking a ride in the car, but if it starts to malfunction, it can be a hellish experience because the temperature of a hot car can quickly hit 140 degrees or more.
The first sign that tells you something is wrong, is when you turn on the AC but all you feel is warm air blowing out of the air vents. What could be the problem?
There are several culprits that could be responsible for your AC problems, and today we’ll explain 5 reasons why your car AC is blowing hot air and how to fix it, so you can troubleshoot the unit by yourself and get it up and running, or to at least have an idea of what the problem is before taking it in for repairs.
The five most common car A/C issues are:
Faulty cooling fans
Your AC Refrigerant Is Leaking
If your car AC is blowing hot air, it is very likely that the refrigerant in the unit is low. A refrigerant is a special kind of gas (but compressed to liquid) that gives the unit its cooling ability.
What it does is absorb heat from inside your car and radiate or give off the heat outside the vehicle thereby making the interior cooler than the temperature outside.
When the refrigerant circulating in the AC is low or leaking, the unit doesn’t have enough power to perform its cooling function – kind of like when someone has lost too much blood.
The problem in identifying where the leak is due to the nature of the refrigerant.
It is a liquid when inside the unit, but when there’s a fault in the pipeline that it flows through, it escapes as a gas which makes it tough to pinpoint the exact location where it is leaking from.
The most common place where refrigerant can leak from are joints and connection hoses in the unit.
It can leak anywhere in the evaporator, the condenser, the compressor, or in the copper coil.
Like I already mentioned, the liquid refrigerant becomes gas when it leaks, so you won’t see the normal tell-tale puddle of water under the car, you’ll possibly see an oily substance collect around the area that’s leaking.
You or preferably a technician can use a sealant to plug this leak.
I recommend getting a professional air conditioning technician to fix the problem, they’ll inject a dye into the unit to trace and fix all leaks.
Problems With The Electrical System
Your car’s electrical is a jungle of cables, fuses, relays, and switches.
When everything is in sync and working as they should, the electrical system delivers the needed power to run the AC unit, providing you cool air and comfort on demand.
If one of these components in the electrical system fails due to a defect in the system, age, or a power surge. The system is designed to shut power to certain components to prevent further damage or unsafe conditions for the user.
While this setup and protective features help prevent dangerous fires from growing in the electrical system, it also means that something as simple as a blown fuse could cause your AC to stop working.
You’ll need to inspect all the wires entering and exiting the AC to see if any wires are broken or frayed. You should also trace them all the way to the fuse box to see if there’s a broken fuse. If notice any wire that looks melted or burnt, then you’ll need to replace them and possibly change a fuse.
I have to warn you, it’s quite difficult to locate or isolate the cause of an electrical problem without the proper test instruments and the necessary experience to diagnose such problems.
If you’re unable to detect any electrical issue in the system, then it’s time to take your vehicle to the garage for further diagnosis.
The AC Condenser Is Bad
The condenser is the part of the AC unit that’s responsible for radiating or dissipating the heat from the liquid refrigerant coming from the compressor.
When this component works as expected, it allows the liquid refrigerant to cool down a bit so it can return to a gaseous state again as it flows back through the rest of the unit.
On and on, the cycle continues.
When the process fails, that’s when you get punched in the face by a fistful of hot air.
It looks a lot like the engine radiator, only a bit smaller. It is located at the front of the car, between the radiator and the grate.
You’ll spot a pair of cooling fans mounted in front of the condenser to help move the heat away from the unit.
When the ventilation holes on condenser are blocked by the accumulation of dirt and road debris, air won’t flow freely over the copper coil, thereby forcing the component to retain some of the heat and the result is weak cooling or hot air.
If on inspection the condenser doesn’t look blocked or clogged, you should ensure that the copper pipes look okay.
If there’s an area on the pipe that looks compressed, then it might be blocking the free-flow of refrigerant through the unit.
This might result from road projectile smashing into the pipe or an accident that caused a bump in your fender or bumper.
Bad Cooling Fans
Recall that I did mention that the condenser has a pair of cooling fans mounted in front of it. The compressor and the fan(s) work hand-in-hand to get rid of the heat, but if the fan isn’t blowing at the optimum speed needed to get rid of the eat, then the partially cooled refrigerant will leave the condenser bad into the unit.
A visual inspection will tell you if the fan is in good shape and is working properly.
They aren’t the sturdiest component on a vehicle, so consider checking them for cracks that may have formed from impact with road debris.
Other common issues that might cause the fan to operate below-par are fuses and electrical issues. You might have to get a replacement fan in some cases or the help of a professional to address the issue.
The Compressor Has Issues
The compressor is the heart of the AC and its job is to keep the refrigerant moving through the unit at all times.
If it is faulty, the refrigerant cannot move through the system and you will never get anything close to cool air.
Compressors rarely develop issues when you’re using them.
The most common cause of compressor failure is inactivity – try to imagine a component that wants to work all the time or it fails.
An extended period of inactivity tends to shock the component when you finally use it.
This extended period of inactivity perfectly coincides with winter when you don’t need the AC running, but you there’s something you can do to keep it active.
We recommend running AC on full speed for 10-15 minutes every two to three weeks irrespective of the outside temperature.
You could run it in the winter with the fan or air vent block, or maybe leave it on for some time before you lock the car and retire for the night.
Other Possible Issues
Your Compressor Clutch Is Bad
Another issue that might be affecting the performance of the compressor is the compressor clutch. What is a compressor clutch? What does it do?
A car AC compressor clutch is the part of the compressor that connects and disconnects the compressor from the engine’s mechanical power.
Simply put, it connects the compressor to the engine so it can harness the rotational motion that the engine produces to make cooling possible.
Unlike the transmission clutch that can transmit partial power, the AC compressor is either on (full power from the engine) or off (no power from the engine).
Since it cycles between on and off continuously, it is also subject to wear and tear. A slipping AC compressor clutch means there’s an incorrect air gap, shorted clutch coil, or just aging.
The compressor clutch won’t engage if:
The clutch fuse is blown
The clutch relay is faulty
System pressure is too low, which means the refrigerant is leaking.
System pressure is too high, which means there’s a blockage somewhere.
The thermal fuse or flow control valve isn’t working or is blown.
Improper clutch plate air gap
You’ll need the service of a professional car AC technician to figure out which of these is the issue.
A Faulty Expansion Valve
Whenever your car AC continuously switches back and forth between hot and cold, chances are that the expansion valve is faulty.
The job of the expansion valve is to distribute a certain quantity of refrigerant to the evaporator.
In a situation where the valve is clogged, the flow of refrigerant could be obstructed or without restriction.
If the refrigerant is restricted even slightly it can cause the expansion valve to get so cold that frost or ice collects on the exterior of the hardware.
The result? Your car AC blows warm on the inside but cold on the expansion valve.
If you notice a poodle or drops of fluid under the car, then it’s very likely from a bad expansion valve (assuming your radiator isn’t faulty).
This could help your mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.
What Does This Mean For You?
This list of car AC problems is by no means a comprehensive list of all the different things that could be responsible for your AC blowing hot air.
Most of them are fixable and very rarely will you need to overhaul your vehicle’s air conditioning system.
If you have the skills and experience to fix any of these issues yourself, then you should get the best replacement part you can find (if replacements are necessary) so you don’t have to do it twice.
Your friendly technicians at All Phase Auto Repair can diagnose and repair any problem with your AC system.
All Phase Auto can put your money to work for all your Auto Repair/Maintenance needs. The more you spend the more you save. It all starts with a free courtesy inspection. Call Terri now for the details 410-687-5030.
It’s difficult to ignore strange noises coming from your car — after all, a strange noise could indicate something’s wrong that needs to be fixed. If you hear a squealing or whining noise coming from under the hood of your car, trust your instincts and let us take a look at it at All Phase Auto Repair. On this page, our service team have gathered a list of four things that are most likely to cause these obnoxious noises. Your car has a lot of accessories under the hood that are attached to the engine by a rubber belt — and this belt and the pulleys it loops around can start to squeak or squeal if they become damaged.
1. ALTERNATOR WHINE
The belt-driven alternator found under the hood of most modern cars can wear out over time. Its job is to take power developed by the engine and convert it into usable electricity for your car’s electronics and for recharging the car’s battery. If the bearings inside wear out, the alternator can make a high-pitched whining noise. And if you have any improperly grounded wires, you might actually hear the alternator whine through the stereo. If you’re hearing a persistent, high-pitched whine that also affects the car’s electronics and stereo, you may need the alternator bearings replaced or an entirely new alternator.
2. WORN DRIVE BELT
The alternator is one of several accessories under the hood that are typically belt-driven on your car. These drive belts are built to last for tens of thousands of miles, but their rubber construction means they’ll grow brittle, stretch and crack over time. That means your drive belts may need to be replaced as they wear out and start to make noise. And if you have any oil leaks in the engine, the belts could become glazed with oil, causing them to slip and squeak. Luckily, installing a new belt is a fast and easy process for the pros in our service center at All Phase Auto Repair.
3. WORN PULLEY BEARINGS
If the belt itself isn’t to blame, the squeaking noise you’re dealing with might be due to bad pulleys. Any damage to these parts can cause a loud whining noise, as these parts spin rapidly any time the engine is running.
If the pulley bearings are worn out on any of your accessories, they’ll need to be replaced to get them working quietly again. Some of the accessories under the hood of your car that may be belt-driven include the power-steering pump, water pump, A/C compressor and alternator.
4. BAD BELT TENSIONERS
Older cars needed to have the belt tension manually adjusted periodically, as the belts stretched over time, to keep the right tension on the belt so the accessories run smoothly and quietly. However, today’s modern cars feature automatic belt tensioners. As the belt begins to stretch, the tensioner automatically tightens to compensate. After a long enough time, these tensioners can start to wear out. They can be pushed to their limits by a belt that’s really stretched out, or the bearings inside can wear out and cause noise. If the belt and pulleys are all working as intended, but we still hear a squeaking noise, we recommend checking the tensioners and having them replaced if they’re rattling, squealing or whining.
The most important things you can do for your vehicle is changing vehicle fluids! Oil and filter changes is a given, we do a lot of them which include many benefits such as other fluid checks and top offs. Lets take rear differential fluid for example, many of todays diffs have clutch plates installed that cause the fluid to heat up quicker and in turn degrade more often that require earlier fluid changes. Some manufactures have intervals set early as 18k miles if towing or driving in hotter climates such as our summer heat. AWD vehicles are popular and have small units buried near hot exhaust systems and hold less than a quart of oil which degrade even quicker. ,https://allphaseautorepair.napavision.com/topic/differential-service/ Units are expensive to replace, more frequent fluid changes will prevent that! Keep your vehicle expenses down contact Terri 410-687-5030.
My Car Is Overheating! What Could Be Wrong? What Do I Do?
These are some possible causes if your car is overheating.
Improperly Circulating Coolant
There’s a Leak
A Hose Needs Replacing
Internal Debris in Cooling System
Malfunctioning Thermos Stat
Malfunctioning Cooling Fan
Blocked Air Inlet to Radiator
Engine Cooling System
If your car is overheating, it can be very serious. One sign your car may be overheating is that your air conditioner stops working. You shouldn’t continue to drive if you see the temperature gauge has moved towards the “hot” side. If your engine overheats your car may not immediately explode or anything like that, but driving with an overheating engine can cause serious damage to your vehicle. It’s better to pull over and deal with it right away instead of risking very expensive repairs later.
There are a number of things that can cause your engine to overheat. Some of these are fairly common issues, especially on a hot summer day in the Essex area.
Improperly Circulating Coolant
If the water/antifreeze mixture isn’t circulating correctly, the engine will start to overheat. This mixture keeps your engine cool during the hot months and prevents it from freezing during the cold months. Be sure to check it regularly to avoid this. Even if you don’t have any leaks, over time it can evaporate. You can add about half a cup of water to a low antifreeze tank to cool down your engine and get you to an auto shop.
There’s A Leak
If your water/antifreeze levels are constantly low, there’s a leak in your cooling system somewhere. If you’re experiencing this, make an appointment with us today. We’ll track down the leak and give you an affordable estimate for the repair.
A Hose Needs Replacement
Over time, the hoses that circulate your coolant may become blocked or detached. While it may not be completely blocked up, even a partial blockage can prevent the proper amount of coolant from circulating. Again, this is something we can check for during an inspection here in our shop.
If the levels of water and antifreeze appear normal, there may be a more serious malfunction with your engine. It is possible that there is an internal coolant leak, debris in the coolant passages or a blocked radiator. In this case, it’s best to bring your car to an auto mechanic as soon as possible. We can track down issues that can help prevent more expensive repairs down the road.
What to do if your car overheats
If your engine is overheating, do the following to cool it down:
Turn off the air conditioner. Running the A/C puts a heavy load on your engine.
Turn on the heater. This blows some excess heat from the engine into the car. While it’s not ideal on a hot summer day (which is when most vehicles tend to overheat), it does help cool the engine down.
Put your car in neutral or park and then rev the engine. This makes the fan and the water pump work faster, which pulls more air and more water through your car’s radiator. This increased circulation cools down the engine.
Pull over and open the hood. This releases the heat and lets air circulate through the hot engine. Just be careful when opening the hood—hot steam may come blasting out.
The safest thing to do is pull over at a safe place, turn vehicle off, and call a tow truck to avoid engine damage.
And finally, NEVER attempt to remove the radiator cap while the engine is hot. It can result in serious burns all over your body as the hot coolant sprays forth under tremendous pressure. If you have concerns about any of the things considered in the article,
All Phase Auto Repair is always ready to help. Call right away and we’ll discuss your options. You can also use the Book an Appointment button to schedule with us.
The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us.
First, if your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause severe damage to the catalytic converter or other components. Get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to the service center.
If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your service advisor to get it checked out.
Some more information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer can adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.
To make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the Check Engine Light.
The computer will also try to adjust and compensate for some readings. Dirty engine oil has caused many cars to run bad and set fault codes.
If the problem can’t be resolved, then the light will remain on and you should get your vehicle looked at.
Your service technician will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.
Nobody likes the feeling of being broken down on the side of the road with no auto repair shop in sight. Oftentimes, these instances can be avoided with regular vehicle maintenance. While it is typical for some parts to wear down over time, sometimes it costs you much more to solve a bigger problem that could have been avoided with regular vehicle maintenance. Our repair shop employs certified professionals who can diagnose problems and devise a maintenance schedule.
One of the most common problems that drivers experience is vehicle shaking. It can happen while accelerating or braking and there are some common causes as to why this happens.
Top Reasons Your Car May Be Shaking
1. Engine Problems
There are a few parts within a vehicle’s engine that could cause a car to shake if they malfunction. These include the spark plugs and engine air filter. Check the spark plugs and their connections. As a general rule, spark plugs last for about 75,000-100,000 miles, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. If the spark plugs are okay and their connections seem sound, then check your air filter next. A dirty or clogged engine air filter can starve the engine of oxygen and/or fuel that it needs to run properly.
2. Brake Problems
If vibration is occurring when you are applying the brakes, the problem is likely related to your car’s front brake mechanism as the front brakes take the most stress when the car’s brakes are applied. There are a few parts on front disc brakes that need to be replaced every so often – namely, the pads and rotors. The rotor is the round metal disc that attaches to the wheel. Over time it can become warped from heavy wear and tear. There are pads that press against the rotor in order to slow down the vehicle and these pads need to be a certain thickness in order to work properly. If the pads have become too worn, it can cause the vehicle to vibrate. The caliper helps to squeeze the pads against the rotor to slow down and stop the vehicle. All vehicles vary on timelines for when brakes need to be replaced. On average, they should be replaced every 30,000 miles but many makes and models can last longer. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for a more accurate timeline for replacement. In addition, whenever you get an oil change, have your mechanic visually check the condition of your pads and rotors. These professionals can give you a better idea of when replacement is necessary.
3. Axle Problems
Most vehicles have 2 axles – one that connects the front wheels, and another that connects the rear wheels. Vibration can occur if either of the axles is bent or dented – which can happen in an accident or other mishap with the road – and vibration will usually increase in intensity as you accelerate if the problem is related to the axle. Also inspect the CV joints and driveshaft for potential problems. If the CV joints are worn, that can let in dust and other debris which can damage the joints.
4. Wheel Problems
If your steering wheel feels wiggly or wobbles when you drive, this can cause vibration problems as well and it may mean that one of the wheels is not spinning properly, or it may relate to the wheel bearings, tie rod ends, or ball joints.
Depending on the specific type of vibration the driver is feeling, the problem can be related to the tires and can be addressed a number of ways. If vibration is felt at certain speeds, the tires may need to be balanced. If the tires are wearing unevenly and causing the car to vibrate, the driver may need a tire rotation. In some cases, the driver may need new tires to solve the problem of vibration.
Whatever the cause of shaking may be, drivers can prevent this problem by visiting All Phase Auto Repair in Essex to have qualified, certified professionals examine and inspect your vehicle. They will give you a specific maintenance schedule that pertains to your vehicle’s make and model, which will hopefully prevent you from encountering problems like vehicle vibration in the future.
You start the car up, put your foot the brake, push the button on the shifter and it won’t shift out of park. What do you do now? Don’t force the shifter. Forcing the shifter out of park may cause more damage. The shifter is connected to the transmission in some cars mechanically or electronically. If an electrical or mechanical component has failed between the shifter and transmission, you won’t be able to shift the car out of park. All Phase Auto Repair will diagnose the problem with your vehicle. The mechanic will then provide an inspection report detailing the scope and cost of the necessary repairs
When to have your shifter inspected or replaced:
Have this system inspected only when a part in the shifter or part of the system that operates the transmission breaks. There is no scheduled time frame for replacing parts in the shifting system. However, all parts can wear out and have the potential to fail, and in a perfect situation, all the parts in the shifting system would last the life of the vehicle.
Symptoms that may indicate your shifter will fail include:
Shifter can be moved but has a lot of resistance
When shifting into a gear, drive or reverse, it feels difficult to find the right spot. The transmission ends up in neutral instead. You may notice that the engine will accelerate when stepping on the gas pedal but the car doesn’t move.
When starting the car with the key, the ignition cylinder feels loose and has play.
No brake lights in the vehicle, brake pedal switch could be faulty.
Shifter feels completely loose — like it’s not connected to the transmission at all.
How a mechanic will inspect a car that won’t shift from park:
There are a number of reasons why a car will not move from park to drive. They can range from the shifter being locked to a broken shifter cable. Mechanics will check for these things:
Failed brake light switch
Bad shift interlock solenoid or wiring: The shift interlock solenoid is a safety feature that has been added to all modern automatic-transmission cars. It prevents the driver from shifting out of park without a foot on the brake.
Broken transmission shift cable: A cable connects the shifter handle to the transmission, and if that is broken, the shifter will be inoperable
Ignition key tumbler is worn out: The ignition switch not only starts your car, but it also locks the steering wheel when the key is taken out. In cars with automatic transmissions, a shift interlock solenoid is also part of the ignition system, and it locks the transmission so it cannot be shifted out of park (as described above).
Broken shifter mechanism: It is also possible that the shifter itself is broken. A mechanic will remove the center console to examine the actual shifter mechanism.
Is it safe to drive with this problem?
Since you can’t move the car without shifting from park to drive, it’s important to enlist the help from All Phase Auto Repair to repair the issue.
All Vehicle systems are getting more and more complex requiring Diagnostics, Skill, Training and Expensive and Equipment with every passing day. Diagnostics are more common with customer concerns. Scanning for codes is only a small part within the diagnostics and does not get your final accurate answer. Internet research can lead to inaccurate information leading to mis-diagnostics! Beware!
All Phase Auto Repair is a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility. The AAA Approved Auto Repair program approves only facilities that meet the highest standards in vehicle repair, competency, reliability, cleanliness, overall experience and fair pricing. Repair facilities, such as All Phase Auto Repair must also employ only trained, certified technicians, and offer timely repairs, convenient hours and courteous service. AAA makes sure that your automobile repairs are conducted only by professionals, and All Phase Auto Repair in Essex, MD is backed with the double industry standard 2 year / 24 month warranty .