Problems with car air conditioning systems

Car air conditioning can be an advantage throughout the year, keeping you cool in summer and helping to demist the windscreen in winter. But what are the most common problems with car air conditioning systems? 

What are the most common problems with car air conditioning systems?

In any car air conditioning system there are a number of different problems that can occur due to different components of the system experiencing faults or damage. The most common problems include:

  • The air conditioning has an unusual smell
  • The air conditioning is only blowing hot air, not cold air
  • The air conditioning won’t turn off or on

Why does the air conditioning smell?

If you turn on your air conditioning to be greeted by an unpleasant smell, this is not only uncomfortable but it could indicate a serious issue. There are a number of potential causes, including:

  • Mold and bacteria- in older vehicles where bacteria and mold has been building up behind the dashboard for a while, the air conditioning may have a mildew scent when this is first turned on. 
  • Clogged air conditioning filter- if your air conditioning smells very pungent and unpleasant, this is usually the sign of a blocked filter. Dirt, dust and stagnant water can all combine within filters to create a very nasty smell when the air conditioning is turned on. If this is the case, you should see a specialist for repair or replacement.
  • Air conditioning or radiator leak- finally, if your air conditioning has a sweet smell this is generally a good indicator that there is a leak in the system. This leak is most likely in the hose, pipe or heater core, the radiator or the housing unit for the coolant, and will require professional repair or replacement.

Why is the air conditioning blowing hot air instead of cold?

One of the most common problems with air conditioning units in vehicles is that they are blowing out only hot air. On a warm day this can make the car very muggy and unpleasant in just a few minutes. But why does this occur? Well, this can be an indicator of a number of different potential problems within the car air conditioning system, including:

  • Damaged cooling fans
  • A blocked or broken condenser
  • An internal obstruction
  • An electrical fault 
  • Low refrigerant levels

As a result, your air conditioning system will need to be inspected by a professional team like ours here at MRS Heat Transfer Ltd.

Why won’t the air conditioning turn off or turn on?

Finally, another common air conditioning complaint is that this simply won’t turn back off, or it wont turn on at all.

Not being able to turn off the air conditioning is a big problem that will need professional assistance as this will otherwise drain your fuel continuously. This can be caused by:

  • Faulty or loose ribbon cable
  • Broken controls/dial stuck in the “on” position
  • Broken selector switch
  • Shorted blower resistor
  • Shorted blower motor relay
  • Shorted A/C controller
  • Shorted blower control circuit

Not being able to turn on the air conditioning is usually less of an urgent problem, especially in the UK, but it’s still disruptive to the driving experience. This is usually caused by:

  • A burnt out fan 
  • A broken switch
  • A stuck valve
  • A wiring fault
  • A blown fuse
  • An obstruction in the air ducts

For more information or for professional car radiator or auto air conditioning repair, get in touch with the team today, here at MRS Heat Transfer.