Why Doesn't My Car's A/C Work?

Leave a Comment - 17



Subject: A/C issues

The cabin filter was just replaced in 4 of my Minit Maid cars and they were clogged up with dirt and leaves from parking under trees. Recommend to clean your oust side vent intakes routinely to save your cabin filters


Subject: Do-it-Yourself Recharge Kits...

I disagree with the paragraph on do-it-yourself recharge kits: There is little to no environmental risk using today's retail A/C Recharge Kits as the only products on the market today contain the new (non CFC) refrigerant R-134a used in vehicles beginning in 1993.
I've used the AC-Pro retail kits to recharge three vehicles last summer and must say that I am extremely impressed at the results with minimal effort and skill required.
The old R12 refrigerant IN ANY FORM has been taken off the retail market and can only be purchased if one holds an AC technicians license or some type of EPA permit. Otherwise it is illegal to buy R12!

Michelle Byrd

Subject: Air condition

If I put Freon in my car would it hurt? They say I need a compressor but I feel like I don't. How can I tell myself if it's compressor or if I can just put Freon in? My air blows warm air.


Subject: AC water Freon

I think I was confused by the Freon and the coolant being flushed. I have a 1990 Honda Accord.. the AC doesn't work and I've never seen any coolant in the overfill container..what does that mean? 3 months ago, I took my car in for an oil change and I noticed that green fluid was leaking afterward.. I took it back in and was told some bs story.. and they replaced the oil filter.. Do they check the coolant as well as the oil? I think I will go back and see what they say now..


Subject: Freon needs to be flushed TOXIC

My AC hasnt worked for 3-4 years the heater works fine. My mechanic says that the freon in there is toxic and gave me a referral to another mechanic who does flushes of this type. and could disposed of it properly. He said 100.00+ tax..

CFCs have been eliminated from cars since the early 1990s (1990 Honda that's my car) and replaced with HCFCs (i.e. R-134A) which have an ozone depletion capability of only 5.5% of CFCs. Plus, the real culprits, intentional direct emissions, are gone.
( That is why refill kits, with HCFCs, are still available to the public)


Subject: Repairs vs value of the car.

I do think that you need to consider the value of the car when doing expensive repairs but if your car is paid off and in relatively good condition you need to think about how much those new car payments are going to add to your budget as well. Most repairs would pay for themselves in a few months to avoid another car payment.

no name

Subject: air conditoner inmaxda

replaced the compressor not it only blows out hot air. It was filled with
freon witha gauze but the froen was from last year and the other can was new. Cant find any leaks.

Marisela Cantu

Subject: a/c blowing warm air when idle

Help!! I have been having this on going problem on my 2013 Buick Encore.
It just started last year, blowing warm air when idle. We put Freon in it and it helped for a few months, the winter came & went. Then had the same problem again blowing warm air when parked or at stop lights & signs. When I drive off, it starts cooling. It started warming up again so I had it looked at & was told I had a leak in one of the a/c hoses. I got it replaced & they added Freon again & it was good for a few months & now it's started up again with the blowing warm air when idle. I had more Freon put in which helps when I am driving but not when idle. The guy that has been helping me now thinks it's the compressor. What do you think it is? Would it be the compressor if it blows cool air when driving?
Please someone help! #singlemomstruggles

R Howe

Subject: a/c blowing warm air when idle

I had this same issue on a Toyota Celica years ago. I don't remember what it was, but it turned out to be a very minor repair. (That probably doesn't help much, but I know it wasn't a compressor replacement.)

Daniel Leite

Subject: cars ac

I have a 2001 dodge dakota the ac clutch works for 10 seconds stops for 3 so on. system is full. no cold air at all.What could be wrong?Thanks.

Dorothy Sinkler

Subject: Auto air conditioner

I have a Ford Focus station wagon year 2000. My car only has 34,500 miles on it. For several summers my air conditioner did not give out cool air. Whe I turn it on there is no problem with the blower but it just blows warm air. I have taken it to have the air conditioner checked, they put dye in it and confirmed that there are no leaks. They then add refrigerant and the car is cool for the summer but this has to be repeated every summer. During the winter months there is no problem with heating the car. I have no other car problems.


Subject: The Ozone Layer Will Survive

As mentioned back in the article, CFCs, which do actually cause significant damage to the Ozone Layer was all over the place - in hair spray, fog horns, keyboard cleaners, everywhere. It was just jetted out and made an excellent, non-toxic, propellent. The chemicals were used massively, around the world.

That is not the case anymore. CFCs have been eliminated from cars since the early 1990s and replaced with HCFCs (i.e. R-134A) which have an ozone depletion capability of only 5.5% of CFCs. Plus, the real culprits, intentional direct emissions, are gone.

The bottom line is that if your leak is relatively slow, keeping it refilled will not destroy the planet, in any way at all, but will save you boatloads of money that you can use to feed your family. That is why refill kits, with HCFCs, are still available to the public.


Subject: Honda CR-V Intermittent AC

My overly-loved 2005 Honda CR-V (225,000 miles) has an AC that works intermittently. What's causing that? Could it be a thermostat malfunction not telling the compressor when to cycle on/off properly?

janet rodd

Subject: My 1997 Volvo 850T blows

My 1997 Volvo 850T blows black smoke out of the rear of the car when the AC is on. What does that mean? I took it to the volvo dealership and they cleaned it and replace some valves???......but it still does blows black smoke. HELP! I love this car......except for this AC problem, it's been great and I feel I can still get lots more mileage from it.

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Hi, i worked in the automoble field for 8 years, I was the CIO of a large 8 location dealer group.


 Frankly, i would be leary of doing business with a company that is still pushing paint protectant or undercoating.  Undercoating is BIG no no as it will actually cause rust.  It traps water between the steel and the undercoating causing corrosion, it plugs up the door and rocker panel drains as well as drain holes in the uni-body frame rails.  The dealers cost for the undercoating is about 250.00 including man hours, it is a huge profit booster and nothing more.  Although Paint Protectant will cause no damage, it does no good.  It is nothing more than an acrylic polymer protectant which can be purchased at an automotive store...cost for the dealer including man hours, 75-100 dollars.  It is nothing more than a profit booster.


 Gap insurance is worth it, if you are involved in a collision and your car is a total loss, the insurance company generally pays you the trade value for the car.  Gap insurance will pay the difference between what the insurance pays you and how much you owe on the car.  for instance, if the insurance company pays you 2k dollars and you owe 3k, the gap insurance will pay the difference of 1k.  However, if you are finanacing 75 percent of the vehicle cost, then gap is not needed.


  Here is my best advice, pay for the car and not a single additional item.  Pay no more than 10 percent over cost, ask to see the dealer invoice, add 10 percent and pay that price.  Gap insurance can be purchased through the finance company after the purchase.


 So, if the invoice states the car cost the dealer 20k, you offer 22k and not a dime more as that is a fair profit for the dealer.  Puschase no other add ons, none.  If they wont show you the invoice, there are plenty of honest dealers that will.  I would be very careful with this dealer.


 Dealers also make money on financing.  for instance, they submit your loan for approval, the bank comes back and approves the loan at 6 percent interest.  The dealer will add 2 or 3 points charging 8-9 percent interest and the dealer gets the money for the points at the time of sale. Ask them how may points they are adding to the bank rate.


 I summary, be careful.  dont fall in love as there are many dealers with the same car.  Offer 10 percent over the dealer invoice and purchase nothing else.  if the dealer gets defensive, fails to show you the invoice, or pulls other sneaky tactics...WALK.  go to another dealer.


 I strongly recommend visiting visit www.edmonds.com to find the dealer cost for your car as well as many other informative car buying tips.




If it is the original timing belt, then yes - check your owners manual for the recommended changing frequency, but from a quick web search (not knowing your exact engine model) it looks like 60,000 recommended internal, and typically last 80-100,000 miles to failure if not changed.

The most frequent comment (and a red note items on manufacturer's website) is that you probably have a "zero-clearance" engine, an idiotic design that means if the valves are not fully closed when the piston come to the top, it hits the valves and breaks or bends them or punches a hole in the top of the piston. Talk about planned obsolescence !

In short, if that is the case and your belt breaks or gets so loose it strips the "teth" off it or slips, your valve timing will be off, and could cause catastrophic engine damage that would require a complete engine overhaul or replacement !

Unfortunately, after looking at a video on how to change the belt, they build it so almost all the auxiliary equipment has to be taken off to change the belt - the alternator, water pump, radiator upper hose, power steering pump, air conditioner, etc - so rough cost is $800-1200 ! If you are getting it changed, it is also recommended to replace the water pump while it is off.

Hopefully some Montero mechanic will hop on this question and expand on this, but NO engine belt of any type should be trusted to go 115K miles.

A great deal depends on the use of the vehicle.  If you do a lot of mountain driving or heave towing, then a flush would be necessary.  Under normal driving conditions, a flush is NOT necessary at 46K miles.  The shops make money on flushes, that's why they recommend them.  Most transmissions are good for 100,000 miles before requiring maintenance.  Your owners manual should say.....if not then leave it alone.  Maintenance is debated between a flush and a fluid drain and fill.  Both have merits and down sides.  Alternative Car Care is not a fan of flushes and will not do them.  We would rather drain the fluid and change the filter.

Assuming automatic transmission:

At a quick lube type place, with unknown brand of fluid - from about $30-60 depending if done as part of a general fluid change package or all by itself. If transmission fluid filters need replacing too (usually are changed with fluid change on an automatic transmission), more like $75-125 range.

At dealer, using OEM parts and fluid, about twice to triple that. Normal auto repair shop about halfway in between those two. One reason for higher price is they will not (if reputable) extract the old fluid through the dipstick tube and put in new - they will remove the pan or maintenance panel (which commonly has to be done fgor filter replacements) and clean the pan at a minimum regardless.

This assumes you do not need band or continuously variable shift friction surface replacement or adjustment, which can crank it up from $50-100 for band adjustment to several hundreds more for replacements.

Do NOT let some shop convince you to pay for a transmission flush - not only is it unnecessary, but usually uses contaminated fluid from other cars or harmful chemicals (sometimes even tap water or diesel fluid) and can seriously damage your transmission. If your transmission filters were not doing their job or you smoked your transmission fluid, the proper cure (assuming not bad enough to require transmission overhaul) is to change to new fluid and filters, then replace them again in a short time - typcially 50-250 miles recommended by manufacturers, to let the new fluid pick up the dirt and sludge and transport to the filters for cleaning.

IF manual transmission - from about $40-75 for one with drain pan and no filters, to as much as $200 range for one with filters that requires removing side panel to change filter and clean it out. Again, higher end at dealers.

My recommendation - ALWAYS require OEM fluids be used for all but engine oil - mixing brands and additives in equipment is just not a good idea, as they can react with each other and cause serious degradation of the lubricating properties, and even cause gel or sludge in the fluid. A transmission, transfer case, differential, etc should be able to run at least several hundred thousand miles without maintenance if you change the fluid as recommended and use only the same OEM fluids in it. The small amount you will save using cheap fluids is not worth the mega bucks to repair or replace a damaged unit. If you go to an auto shop, find out your required refill quantities and buy the fluids at the dealer and tell them to refill with those - just be sure to get enough to allow for a bit of spillage.