It’s raining today, but the temperature will reach the high 90’s later this week. And many Richmond drivers will discover that their car’s air conditioning isn’t working as well as they remembered. If you’re one of those drivers, the sooner you get your AC diagnosed, the better.

Consider this: A non-working air conditioner can result in a miserable, uncomfortable commute. There are few things quite as agonizing as being trapped in a scorching car in the heart of a traffic jam. Even worse, in extremely hot conditions, driving with a non-functioning AC could even become dangerous.

Figuring out why the air conditioning is not working will help you determine if the problem is something you can remedy yourself. If not, then you’ll need the expertise of a professional car repair service. In addition, if you know how to identify what is wrong with your car’s air conditioning, you’re more likely to get quality service when you take your vehicle to the car repair shop.

If the air conditioning in your car is not blowing cold air, a number of different things could be wrong with it.  Some of the most common problems are highlighted below – along with what can be done to fix them:

Leaking Freon

The chemical responsible for producing cool air is known as Freon. If there’s a leak in the AC system, the Freon will run low and ultimately run out. These days, the AC systems found in many cars are extremely sensitive; a particular amount of Freon, measured in pounds, is required to operate effectively.

There is a proper method of checking the system to make sure an accurate volume of Freon is in it.  A charging machine will provide the best results. This piece of equipment will get rid of all Freon from the system and then put in the right amount so it can operate properly.

Freon could be escaping via extremely slow leaks. If more Freon has been added and your cold air is gone within a few weeks, you should consider checking and replacing components of the system, such as the hoses.

Recharging Required

An air conditioner will not get cold enough if it needs recharging. In fact, this is probably the most common reason for the air conditioning in your car to malfunction. If you feel comfortable with car repairs and are adequately skilled, you can go ahead and recharge your refrigerant. However, if you’re not comfortable recharging it, you can take it to a reputable car repair service (such as your friends here at Aarrow). One of their ASE-certified and experienced mechanics will be able to address the issue and get cold air circulating again.

Air Compressor Not Engaging

A number of different conditions could keep the air compressor from engaging. When an electrical issue is present in the clutch or circuit of the compressor, for example, this could cause failure. Additionally, the air compressor could fail as a result of low levels of Freon or if the vehicle is overheating.

Today’s computer-controlled cars have sophisticated systems that can readily detect problems. The air conditioning system is among the first systems the computer turns off when an engine problem is detected. If this happens, the malfunctioning part will typically have to be replaced by an experienced and qualified car repair professional, such as Richmond’s Aarrow Transmissions.

Air Is Blowing, But Not Cold

This could be an indication that the fan in the air conditioner is no longer working. The refrigerant can only be cooled by the condenser if air is moving over it. When stopped in traffic or driving at low speeds, a fan can produce adequate air flow to keep the AC system working properly. However, it could eventually wear out and stop working.

The solution to this problem could be as easy as having a wire changed. In some cases, however, a completely new fan unit may be required. If you are unskilled in this area, this isn’t something that you should attempt to change yourself. This is especially true if the process requires taking apart the dashboard to access all of the necessary components.

Blend Air Door Is Stuck

The blend air door is a little hatch located inside the ventilation system of the vehicle. When your environmental system is switched from heat to cold, the blend air door should switch to drawing in the cold air. If no change happens, the door will continue to draw heat from the engine and circulate it around the vehicle. A qualified mechanic should be given the task of fixing this problem.

Other Possible Issues

The air conditioner in your car is part of a complicated system. There are easy fixes, like adding Freon and recharging the AC, which you can take of yourself. However, there are a number of other more complicated issues that should only be tackled by a certified and experienced mechanic.

In rare cases, the problem with the air conditioner could indicate that there are more severe issues with the vehicle. But repairing the AC is typically relatively easy, even if the expertise of a certified mechanic is required to do it. Want to know for sure? Bring your car into Aarrow for a cooling system inspection.