Common Car Air Conditioning Issues

In this quick guide we examine the most common car air conditioning system problems, their causes, and how you can fix them.

With summer swiftly approaching and despite how the weather is performing just now, switching on your vehicle’s air conditioning unit for the first time this year may be on the cards. Air conditioning can make the longest and shortest car journeys as comfortable as possible, but what happens if you turn on your air con only to find that you still feel the heat?

After months of resting, many car owners encounter a number of unfortunate problems, issues that may prevent your air conditioning system from working as it should do. Understanding the common problems that affect car air conditioning units is a vital part of the puzzle. Become one step closer to solving your car air conditioning dilemmas, and stay fresh and cool on the roads this summer by getting to know the issues below.

I smell gas when I switch on my air con

Leaks of any kind are bad news for a car. Thankfully a leak in your air conditioning system can be easily detected and subsequently remedied so you can get your air con back on track once more. If a leak is present, you may smell gas when you first switch your air conditioning system on. The smell is at its strongest at this stage as the fresh air being sucked in by your system will forcefully push out the build-up of air inside the unit.

It’s not just gassy smells that may signal a leak in your air conditioning system. A sweet or chemical odour when you switch on your air con can point to a leak deeper in your system. Common air conditioning components that spring a leak include the hose, pipe or heater core, radiator and coolant housing unit.

My air con blows air, but it’s hot!

Blowing no cool air is bad enough but what happens when your air conditioning blows hot air? The presence of hot air can easily be pinpointed by you, but as there may be a number of causes, sourcing the exact underlying problem is best undertaken by a professional. Low refrigerant levels are a likely cause of a faulty car air conditioner that is blowing hot air. Replenishing those refrigerant levels can be done by yourself with the right tools, refrigerant and knowledge. Although you may want to ask an expert like us to complete the job of recharging your air conditioning for extra peace of mind.

If low refrigerant levels aren’t to blame for your air conditioning unit blowing hot air, damaged cooling fans, a blocked or broken condenser, internal obstruction, or electrical fault may be the cause.

My air con smells really musty

Using all your senses is the primary route to identifying further issues with your car air conditioning. Even if your air conditioning systems works, you may notice an unpleasant odour circulating around your car that wasn’t there before you switched on the air con.

The type of odour present will help to identify the issue. Most smells however will point to dirty air conditioning filters. Pungent odours or a distinctive smell of damp can both be caused by a build-up of mould, mildew, dirt, dust and even stagnant water within the air conditioning system itself. As well as clogging up the wider system, they clog your filter meaning any air being circulated is laced with bacteria, fungus and other contaminants that may be harmful to your health or the health of those riding in your vehicle. Again dirty filters can easily be checked for and identified by you. You may however want to ask a professional to service and clean your filters for a more thorough result.

If you are in the Waterlooville area you can request our air conditioning service, or you can read more guides about your car’s air conditioning and general car care: