Your car’s AC unit has to function properly to ensure you’re comfortable, especially during Summer. There are many reasons for your AC system to not function properly, from a simple case of leakage to more complex issues like compressor breakdown.
So, if you start noticing some issues with your AC unit (which we’ll discuss below), it’s essential to have them checked immediately before the problem aggravates itself. In this blog, we’ll talk about how a car’s AC unit functions, the most common repair causes, and how much does it cost to fix them.
How does a Car AC Unit Work?
Whether you own a Mercedes, a BMW, or any other vehicle, your car’s AC unit will work all the same. A car AC unit consists of a compressor, a condenser, an expansion valve, an accumulator, and an evaporator. Every AC unit derives the energy from the alternator, which powers up the refrigerant to keep the cabin cool.
Here’s how a standard car AC system works:
- The compressor sends the refrigerant through the condenser in a liquid state;
- The condenser strips away the heat from the refrigerant and sends it to the expansion valve or tube;
- The expansion valve causes a reversal effect, changing the refrigerant liquid back into a gaseous state and pushing it through the accumulator;
- The accumulator draws out all the moisture away from the refrigerant and sends it through the evaporator and
- The evaporator causes the flow of cold air inside the cabin by taking heat from the passing air and sending it through the cool refrigerant.
The Most Common Car AC Problems and How to Fix Them?
Nobody wants to feel warm air blowing from their car’s AC, especially when summers hit in the Conurbation region. As such, there are various things that could go wrong, causing your AC to not function properly.
However, the good news is that all of them can be taken care of by a certified mechanic or automobile electrician. So, if your AC delivers subpar performance, it may be due to one of the following reasons:
AC not Cooling Properly – Refrigerant Leak
Refrigerant leakage is one of the most common issues that can hamper your car’s AC unit. Moreover, refrigerant leaks are hard to detect – you’ll only figure something is wrong when your AC fails to deliver sufficient cooling.
Solution: Any refrigerant leak can only be detected at the hose connections. If you find an oily substance around the connections, it’s time to take your car to an automobile AC repair shop. A mechanic will stop the leakage, either by simple measures like applying sealant on the leak area or through extensive measures such as replacing the connections altogether.
AC Blowing Hot Air – Blocked or Broken Condenser
As mentioned before, the condenser strips off heat from the refrigerant and re-cools it after compression. This is done by the airflow that makes its way from the front of the car when you’re driving. Unfortunately, debris and dirt on the road can accumulate and block the condenser, so the refrigerant cannot cool down, and your AC starts blowing hot air. Road debris can also damage the condenser.
Solution: In case of a blocked condenser, you must remove any clogs on the cabin filter and thoroughly clean the grill. However, a broken condenser, either caused by equipment failure or damage from debris, will have to be replaced by a certified technician.
AC Making Unusual Noises – Faulty Compressor
The compressor is the most vital cog in the machine of your AC unit. When the compressor fails, you’ll not get any cool air from the vents and may also hear unusual noises from your AC when turned on. A common reason for compressor failure is extended intervals of your AC being idle (say, during winter). However, a faulty compressor may also be a result of a mechanical breakdown.
Solution: A mechanic must replace a faulty compressor as soon as possible.
No Air from your AC Unit – Faulty Fans
Fans allow the condenser to receive cool air while driving. Any fault with the fans will cause your AC unit to malfunction. You can look at the fan when the system is running to determine if it’s moving.
Solution: If the fan is moving slower than usual or not moving at all, schedule an appointment at your nearest garage for a repair or replacement.
Your AC unit is an electrical component that functions via a complex maze of wires. A single frayed or broken wire may impede your AC system from functioning optimally. It’s advisable here that all wiring issues in your automobile should only be repaired by a professional mechanic.
Solution: You can check the connections to and fro your AC unit to detect any broken or frayed wires. Sometimes, you can simply wrap a tape around a frayed wire to get your AC back to normal functioning. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to lean on the expertise of a technician.
How Much Does a Car AC Repair Cost?
Fixing a car’s AC unit depends on the reason for its breakdown. While a standard regassing would cost around $100, aggravated problems like a faulty compressor can cost you north of $500.
If your AC unit has run out of gas, the technician will likely assess other issues and perform minor repairs, along with regassing your vehicle. So, the overall cost of regassing your AC unit may be between $120 and $180.
Other minor issues like sealing a refrigerant leakage will cost approximately $300 – $400. However, repairing a faulty compressor can cost $500 – $800, and replacing it can shoot up the bill to $1000 – $1200, depending on the extent of damage and your car’s model. But this is solely the cost of repairing the compressor – any repair work on the compressor may also lead to additional services like more refrigerant and part replacements. In this case, be prepared to shell out $2000 – $3000 to restore your AC.
Here’s an average price list for repairing your car’s AC unit:
|AC Compressor Repair||$500 – $1500|
|AC Leak Repair||$100 – $300|
|AC Filter Cleaning||$20 – $100|
|AC Wire Repair||$450 – $900|
Ensuring Optimal Performance of your Car’s AC Unit
The best way to ensure optimal performance of your car’s AC system throughout the year is to stick to a maintenance schedule. Like oil and brake pad replacements, your AC unit should also be checked often.
Here are some tips for regular maintenance of your car’s AC unit:
- Run your AC on defrost mode for at least 10 minutes every week (regardless of the season) at the coolest setting with maximum fan speed. This helps prevent moisture and mildew and keeps the unit working properly.
- Check your air filters frequently and change them if needed.
- Operate the AC at the lowest temperature and adjust the fan speed accordingly. Higher temperature setting causes more fuel consumption.
- Keep your car cabin clean. Dirt and debris can harm your car’s AC system.
- Have your car’s AC unit checked by a certified technician before summer every year.
Schedule an AC Service or Maintenance at AutoImports of Denver
A functional AC unit in your car means comfortable driving all year round without unwanted surprises.
Keep your car’s air conditioning in prime performance with scheduled maintenance at AutoImports of Denver. Our certified technicians can detect any leak or damage in your AC unit and take appropriate measures to keep you and your family cool.