Auto Air Conditioning Issues: What Drivers Need To Know

For many drivers, their car's air conditioning isn't a luxury, but a necessity. When the summer temperatures can reach extremes, having air conditioning is an important feature. However, like any other component on your vehicle, your car's air conditioning system is also vulnerable to wear and mechanical failure. It's important that you recognize the signs of trouble with your car's air conditioning system in the early stages so that you can have the problem addressed before your air conditioning fails completely. Here's a look at a few of the things that you need to watch for.

Warmer Air

When your car's air conditioner has historically produced plenty of cold air, you'll likely notice when that air isn't as cold as it once was. If you've noticed that your car's air conditioning is not as cool as you're accustomed to, that's a sign that you may need to have the system serviced. Usually, this problem indicates that your air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, typically because of a leak. You'll need to have a technician locate the source of the leak, repair it, and then recharge your air conditioning system with sufficient refrigerant to restore its operation.

Odd Noises When The Air Conditioning Is On

In most cases, all you should hear from your car's air conditioning system is just the air blowing through the vents and possibly the condenser cycling on or off. If you're hearing any other noises, such as popping, whistling, grinding, or squealing, those are all indications of mechanical problems with the condenser unit or the blower fan. You should turn off the air conditioning right away if you hear sounds like this and avoid using it again until you have a technician troubleshoot the problem.

Squealing Or Grinding When The Engine Runs

If you're hearing squealing or grinding from your engine when it's running, it could be caused by a variety of things. However, one of the things that many people don't associate this sound with is the air conditioning system. However, if the pulley on the air conditioning compressor is binding up due to a bad bearing or a failing pulley, these sounds could be highly problematic. In fact, if the pulley seizes, it could damage the serpentine belt and may ultimately cause other engine damage as well. Make sure you have the air conditioning pulley checked if you're hearing sounds like this from your engine.

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