How To Deal With A Broken Auto AC System

Few features in cars provide as much comfort as air conditioning, especially in the warmer months. When something goes wrong with the system, you'll likely want to get it back to operational as soon as possible. The broken car AC repair process has to be dealt with in two steps, diagnosing the issue and fixing it. Take a look at both sides of the coin to see what your options are when you go to a car AC repair services provider like Modern Auto Air.


Failures of AC units in cars generally break up into three potential groups. These are electrical and control issues, mechanical problems, and coolant loss. Some newer cars may include diagnostic probes that allow the on-board diagnostic system to flag the issue. Bear in mind, however, the computerized diagnostics only provide a starting point. A technician will still need to verify what the problem is and track it down to its source.

Electrical and Control Systems

Addressing electrical and control problems may be as simple as popping in a new fuse in the dashboard or as complex as replacing the computer system that handles climate control in the vehicle. Wiring and relays are rarely the problems, but they're worth a look once the other two possible issues have been ruled out. 

These problems are usually evident based on the fact that the AC unit doesn't try to do anything, not even blowing cold air. In rare cases, damaged wiring may give off a faint burnt smell, too. A loose connection is also a possibility, and this will be evidenced by intermittent operation, such as the AC quitting when you hit a bump.

Mechanical Failures

In this category, potential solutions are generally going to be replacement parts. The blower motor for the fan system is a potential culprit, and this will be evident based on cold air still coming out of the vents when there's a draw. Fan problems may also emerge initially as squealing noises or burnt smells. 

The compressor or condenser units in the engine may also be failing. In these cases, you'll likely not get anything from the AC. Sometimes, warm air will blow instead. Notably, the compressor or condenser should only be replaced once potential coolant issues have been considered.


This is oftentimes the simplest fix. Refrigerant that's critical to the coolant reaction may need to be replaced. Most cars have ports in their engine compartments that allow technicians to recharge the refrigerant in less than a half hour.

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Car Tips for Car Lovers

Some people treat cars like disposable appliances, but others see them as long-term investments. For people like this, a car is something to be cherished, maintained, and maybe even passed down to the next generation. If you're here, it's because you're one of those people who refuses to buy a car only to throw it away a few years later. Like you, we have a passion for our vehicles. The articles you will find here reflect that passion and our desire to help you keep your car on the road for as long as possible. The advice we provide isn't meant to give you the bare minimum necessary to keep a vehicle on the road, but instead to help you keep your car feeling brand new no matter its age.