The air conditioning system in the car is an absolute necessity in some cold and hot climates. On top of that, the systems are so effective that they can make you feel comfortable in almost any weather. So why is the car blowing hot air instead of cold?
There are several components in an air conditioning system that can fail and cause it to blow hot air instead of cold. When they do, they can’t properly cool or heat and will need to be fixed. You can perform some repairs yourself but otherwise may need to visit an expert.
I’ll point out the causes of cooling and heating failure in cars. It’s also important to understand how you can fix these issues with some simple steps but that you may be looking at some expensive repairs.
How Does Air Conditioning Work In A Car?
Air conditioning works by using a coolant or refrigerant and pump system. Slight delays before the air turns cold or hot are normal as it does take some time for the system to engage. If after a few minutes the heating or cooling has not started it may have an issue.
Make sure you are properly operating the system by consulting the manual or dealer.
Refrigerant is the substance that runs through the evaporator to cool hot air inside the car cabin. Coolant can leak through holes or loose seals with the most common place at joints and connection hoses. As it is an odorless gas that escapes, you may not be able to detect it by smell.
As the liquid refrigerant becomes gas when it leaks, there won’t be physical evidence such as a puddle of water under the car.
Another component of the air conditioning is the condenser. A broken or blocked condenser can result from dirt clogging the condenser. General damage from road conditions can also result in malfunction. With a visual inspection, you may be able to spot a clog, but other tests may be needed if a leak is present.
A condenser looks like an engine radiator, only smaller. It is generally located at the front of the car, between the front gate and the radiator. Often there’ll be a pair of cooling fans mounted to it.
As always, road projectiles smashing into the unit pipe or damage to the front of the car may compromise this system.
The air conditioning needs an electrical system that is still susceptible to failure. This can be because of blown fuses or damaged wires, age, or a power surge.
Electrical problems are better detected by an expert with the proper test instruments and the necessary experience to diagnose such problems. Otherwise, it can be extremely difficult to diagnose and fix such issues.
The air conditioning compressor may stop working, causing cooling issues. Over time, the internal mechanisms can fail.
Fundamentally, there needs to be an effective way to blow the cool air around. Faulty cooling fans are not uncommon and they aren’t the sturdiest component on a vehicle. If they’re not working, try checking them for cracks that may have formed from impact with road debris.
Interestingly, one of the most common causes of compressor failure is inactivity. It is generally recommended to run the system at full speed for 10 minutes every three weeks irrespective of the outside temperature.
Why Is My Car Heater Blowing Cold Air Instead Of Hot Air?
Equally frustrating can be when your heater stops working and blasts you with cold air during a chilly winter night. Just like the cooling process, a car’s heating system has many components working together to heat the car.
You should make sure you have enough coolant in the vehicle. Heating uses the engine’s coolant to blow warm air into the vehicle. If the coolant is too low this process won’t function properly.
The ducts and hoses inside the car may get blocked which prevents heat from reaching you in the cabin. Check that the heater core in the dashboard is free of debris and any related hoses are not collapsed.
When heater cores malfunction they often release a fog or sweet smell in the car. If you notice you are going through coolant quickly or other signs of a bad heater core, it is best to get it looked at by an expert.
The other common issues like electrical faults and fan issues apply to cooling the vehicle as well as heating the vehicle and so all the above remedies should be performed.
How Expensive Is It To Fix A Car’s Air Conditioning?
Getting an expert to fix your vehicle is not going to be a cheap exercise. This is because parts and especially labor will bump up the costs. Labor changes with a lot of factors, including the area that you’re in and the estimated time it will take.
It may be worth trying to source universal parts if the factory parts are too expensive. It is possible to match the original in terms of specifications so that there will be no compatibility issues. Minor leaks can even be fixed up without the need for replacing parts.
However, at a minimum, it will cost into the hundreds or even into the thousands. Differences in costs flow from the different remedial actions that have to be taken as there are all kinds of components and problems that need to be fixed in different ways.
In the end, it is a complicated system that will need to be dealt with by a professional. Some issues can be fixed by applying a sealant and will be the cheapest. Once you need to replace damaged parts, labor and part costs will be going up dramatically.
Diagnosing where the leaks are coming from will add to the labor costs. Air condition leaks may be caused by several parts of different areas of the air conditioning system.