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Three Common A/C Problems

With these hot summer days headed our way the last thing you want is the car A/C to give out. Nothing worst than sitting in a mobile oven. This is the time were we see most people coming in with AC issues in their vehicle. Don’t tolerate a stuffy, uncomfortable car. Here are some things you can check until you can bring it in for service.




Cool But Not Cold

If the air conditioning is set to max cool and fans on high, but it is only blowing moderately cool air:

  • Check to see that the cooling fans on the condenser or radiator are running when the air conditioning is on.

  • Look for any restrictions like leaves, bugs or dirt that would keep air from passing over the condenser.

  • Check the cabin air filter to ensure that it is not clogged.

Check the pressures in the system using a manifold gauge set. The recommended high-side and low-side pressures can be found in the repair manual.


When diagnosing an air conditioning issue, it's easiest to begin at the compressor.

  • With the engine running turn the A/C on max cool, set fans high, and make sure that the clutch is engaging on the compressor.

  • Note: this is not the pulley, but the center piece that engages the pulley to the compressor shaft. If the clutch is engaging and disengaging rapidly, the refrigerant may be low.

  • If the clutch is not engaging, use a voltmeter to check for voltage getting to the compressor.

  • If there is voltage - the clutch may be bad.

If there is no voltage - a cycling switch may be bad, a fuse may be blown and the system may not have enough refrigerant pressure to trip the low pressure cutoff switch that cycles the compressor.


Leaks are the most common problem associated with the air conditioning system.

If pressure is low, then there may be a leak.

  • Using a UV A/C leak detection kit is the easiest way to find a leak.

  • Follow the instructions on the packaging to introduce UV dye to the system and UV light to find the leak.

  • Check around all fittings to verify that they are all secure.

  • Check hose manifolds on the compressor.

  • Check the front seal and the o-rings sealing the pressure switches on the back of some compressors.

  • Check where the hoses are crimped onto the fittings.

  • Check the Schrader Valves.

  • Check for pin holes in the condenser.

  • Check where the evaporator drains condensation with UV light. Sometimes oil or dye can be seen.

Note: The dye check will not work if the system is too low and the compressor is not cycling.



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