Summer travels, and road trips under the hot sun are fun only inside a cool and comfortable car. Even a short trip to the office, a friend’s place, or a shopping spree becomes an ordeal with a broken car air conditioner. A logical first reaction when facing an issue is to curse the day. Since all that does is allow us to vent out frustration (but that does make one feel a little good), the next step is to take the car to the mechanic for AC repairs. Rarely do we ever take time out to understand the problem and its cause.
One of the most common problems with car AC is that it suddenly starts blowing hot air. Have you encountered something similar and wondered, “Why is my AC blowing hot air in my car?” If you have and are still looking for answers, this is exactly where you will find them.
Reasons Why The Car AC is Blowing Hot Air
The usual or the most common reasons why the AC starts blowing hot air in the car are:
1. Refrigerant Leak – Refrigerant, also known as the coolant, is the most vital element that aids the cooling process. It is a liquid that flows through the car’s air conditioning system, expanding and contracting as it gets rid of heat and humidity from the cabin.
The unique thing about the refrigerant is that it is simply recycled over and over again. Unless there is a leak, the level of the refrigerant will not decline. So one does not have to recharge it unnecessarily.
When there is a refrigerant leak, its first sign is that the car AC starts blowing warm air. Unfortunately, identifying the leak’s source is difficult because the refrigerant changes from liquid to a gaseous state and vice-versa, and the leak can happen at either end. Don’t expect to see a wet spot or a puddle under the car where the leak exists because when the antifreeze is exposed to the environment, it evaporates. Therefore, expertise, special skills, and appropriate equipment are prerequisites to locating the leak. Only people trained to detect them will be able to spot and solve the problem. A reputable and reliable car mechanic is your best bet in resolving the problem to complete satisfaction.
2. Condenser Problem – The heat that the refrigerant extracts from the car cabin needs to be expelled. This is the work of the condenser. By expelling the heat, it ensures the refrigerant remains cool. If the condenser fails to dispel the heat, the cooling cycle breaks down, and the AC starts blowing hot air inside the car.
In a car, the condenser is located between the grate and the radiator. The air that flows through the grates assists in the cooling process. If these grates get blocked for some reason, like road debris, etc., the air cannot reach the condenser.
Sometimes an accident can also damage the condenser, forcing it to malfunction. So if your AC woes began immediately after any kind of trauma to the car, you might be dealing with a broken condenser.
3. Compressor Is Broken – The compressor is the very heart of the AC. This crucial component ensures the circulation of the refrigerant through the car’s air conditioning system. Any issues with the compressor will stall the cooling process as the coolant will no longer be able to reach the condenser for the cooling cycle to begin — failing which, the car AC will blow hot air into the cabin.
Usually, compressor problems crop up after long periods of inactivity. For example, you don’t use the car AC through the winter season but come the summers, your very existence (or at least it feels like it) depends on it. So what should you do? One option is to get the car’s AC inspected by the mechanic before using it after a long gap. The other thing you could do is keep the compressor active by using the defrost setting.
Despite all care, the compressor may still fail. It usually happens in old cars. When you face a similar situation, take your car to the mechanic.
4. Trouble With The Cooling Fans – The condenser works in combination with a pair of cooling fans to lower the heat of the refrigerant while it is circulating. If these fans stop working, the temperature of the refrigerant will increase, and the AC will start blowing hot air.
The cooling fans may stop working due to a severe hit by roadside debris, an accident, an electrical problem, or the blowing of a fuse. In all of these cases, only a car mechanic can save the day.
5. Electrical issues – Car AC wires do get frayed. It may happen due to age-related deterioration, poor quality of wires, some oversight, or simple overheating. The cooling will be affected if the air conditioner’s electrical system is damaged. Instead of cold air, you may have to face the wrath of a hot blast of air on your face.
Generally, electrical connections are checked when every other problem is ruled out. Since the connections need to be proper and precise, only a good car mechanic would do.
Diagnosing electrical issues comprises a detailed visual inspection of the wiring and the car’s fuse box. If nothing apparent jumps out, each connection is tested to find the culprit.
When your car’s AC blows hot air inside the cabin instead of cold air, it means something is wrong and requires immediate attention. Since the only person who can provide the proper assistance is a professional car mechanic, the best thing you can do is switch off the car AC and drive the car to the nearest one. Or, if it is too hot to drive without the AC, you can always get the car towed to them. Now, the ball is in the court of the mechanic. Since you now know of all the probable causes, understanding the issue won’t be a problem. Allow the mechanic to work his magic to figure out the precise cause and rectify the problem.