Troubleshooting Your Car’s A/C System

Dashboard AC ControlsCool, crisp air conditioning in your car is a luxury, especially during the dog days of summer. So don’t wait until your A/C experiences technical issues before having it serviced. Quite often A/C problems can be solved simply by troubleshooting, however; failing to address minor issues now can result in major problems later and can even cause your system to have to be replaced.

Signs Your A/C Needs to be Replaced

One definite sign that your A/C needs to be replaced is if it encounters Black Death. Black Death occurs when the refrigerant in the compressor breaks down, sending sharp metal particles created during compression through your A/C system, ruining the entire system. The best defense against A/C Black Death is regular performance checks.

Moisture can also damage your system. Over time, the rubber hoses and seals on your system lose their elasticity, allowing Freon to enter your system. When this occurs, moisture mixes with the refrigerant, creating a corrosive acid which damages your system. Again, the best defense against ruining your system is to have regular performance checks.


Leaks are among the most common issues with air conditioning systems. trafficIf your A/C pressure is low, then chances are, you have a leak. The simplest way to check for a leak is to use a UV A/C Leak Detection Kit to introduce UV dye into the system, then use the UV light to detect any leaks. Verify that all fittings are secure. Check the hose, front seal and the O-rings sealing the pressure switches on the rear of the compressor. Check where the hoses are crimped onto the fittings, and check for pin holes in the condenser. Lastly, check the Schrader valves and where the evaporator drains condensation, with the UV light.

If your A/C gets cool but not cold, even with the fans set to max, check to ensure that the cooling fans on the condenser and radiator are on. Also, be sure there are no bugs, dirt or leaves hindering air flow from circulating over the condenser. Lastly, check the cabin filter. A good filter allows good air flow, which greatly increases the efficiency and longevity of your air conditioning unit. Over time, your air filter can become worn or clogged with build up and debris that can restrict its air flow and ultimately, rob your A/C of maximum performance.

To check the voltage on your compressor. Turn on the engine. Set the A/C to the max. Now examine the clutch. If the clutch has voltage, then chances are, you have a faulty clutch. If there is no voltage to the clutch, use a voltmeter to check the voltage to the compressor. If the clutch is engaging, the refrigerant may be low.

check engine light diagnosticsWhat Your Mechanic Can Do

If after troubleshooting, you are still having issues with your A/C system, then it may be time to contact your mechanic. Your mechanic can perform an A/C Performance check to restore your cool breezes. During the performance check, your mechanic will visually inspect your system and run a performance test, at which time, they will also check for leaks. If it is determined that your A/C system needs to be replaced, your mechanic is certified and trained to replace just about make and model A/C system. During your system change, the mechanic will replace all parts including the O-rings, hoses, lines, compressors, compressor clutches, evaporators, condensers, orifice tubes, thermal expansion valves, driers, receivers, accumulators, blower motor, blower motor resistors, switches, solenoids, relays, control modules and blend doors. And in many cases, they can even get parts the same day.

By law, you must receive training and certification by MACS in order to repair A/C systems. This certification ensures the proper measures are taken in the disposal and recycling of refrigerant. Refrigerant is a highly dangerous substance, therefore; you should never attempt to replace it yourself. Instead, contact a professional mechanic who is highly trained in the repair of A/C systems, and who is certified to properly dispose of the refrigerant to ensure your safety. For more information, please give us a call at (480) 641-8784 or just stop by our location. We look forward to hearing from you!