How is an air conditioner inspected?
If you suspect your car’s air conditioner has an issue, take your car to a qualified, licensed mechanic for an inspection.
Your mechanic will do the following:
- Conduct a visual inspection for any outward signs of malfunction
- Check your air conditioner’s refrigerant
- Use a sniffer to determine if any chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have leaked from your car’s AC unit
- Test your car’s heater and check if air is being powered across the unit’s evaporator in order to seal off its heater core
- Check each air conditioner component to rule out any other problems
How do I know if my car’s air conditioner needs to be inspected?
There are some common problems that are often behind an air conditioner on the fritz—a worn-out compressor, a failed blower motor, a damaged dryer, a busted condenser, or a blown fuse. The warning signs differ depending on the core problem.
Worn out compressor
The compressor is the engine of your car’s air conditioning system, responsible for pressurizing the air conditioning refrigerant. It is known to stop working without warning. This can cause oil or refrigerant to leak out of the AC system.
You may hear a squealing sound when you turn your car’s AC on—this may indicate your compressor is damaged.
Failed blower motor
The blower motor pushes cooler air through the vents to cool the inside of the cabin. You’ll know there is likely an issue with the blower motor if:
- You turn on the AC but no air comes out of the vents
- Your blower only works at maximum power
Your air conditioner’s dryer acts as a filter and collects debris and other particles inside your car’s air conditioner. If the dryer is damaged, moisture will accumulate and damage the rest of the system.
If your AC dryer fails, moisture will collect on your windows and not clear during defrosting.
Your car’s condenser is a radiator that reduces the temperature of the system’s refrigerant during the condensation process. If the condenser is broken, cold airflow into the car’s cabin will be significantly slower.
A blown fuse can be easily fixed, but it is a symptom of a bigger problem—your mechanic will conduct an electrical test to determine if a bigger, more serious issue is at play.
How important is an air conditioning inspection?
If your car’s air conditioner is not working, get it checked out immediately, especially during the height of summer or if you live with hot weather year-round.
Even if you live in an area with cold winters, proper AC function is important because your car’s air conditioner plays a vital role in defrosting your windows during the winter.
Tips for air conditioner inspection
Low refrigerant levels often mask a leak in the air conditioning system, so topping it off won’t solve any issues. Ask your mechanic to take a harder look at your car’s AC system to root out the problem.
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