How do you check a car’s A/C condenser?

What should I do to check that my car’s A/C condenser is working properly? I’ve been having problems with my cooling system, and I think that’s the issue. I’d rather not pay for an expensive diagnosis on top of repairs, so I’d like to identify the problem before I bring it into the shop.

A/C problems can be frustrating—especially in the summer months! Since the air conditioning system is complex, it can be hard to narrow down the issue. But these telltale signs can help you identify a faulty A/C condenser:
  • Your A/C emits a burning smell.
  • Your A/C puts out lukewarm air rather than cold air.
  • You see a warning light on your dashboard.
  • Your A/C shuts down completely.
  • There is a coolant leakage.
  • Your car overheats when idling.
If you notice any of these issues, then it’s likely you have a condenser problem. Bring your car into a mechanic and tell them what you think the problem might be. As professionals, they’ll still need to give everything a quick check—but you might save time and money if they start by checking the condenser.
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Liz Jenson
Answered on Nov 15, 2021

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